Continued growth at Port Opua, New Zealand’s largest clearance port, has led to the expansion of the Bay of Islands Marina, from 250 berths to 400.
The expansion will give boat owners ready access to short and long-term berthage and an expanded array of hard stand services.
The marina expansion project includes new buildings, a board-walk frontage and a landscaped recreational area. This will include seating, barbeques, a performance and entertainment stage and a play zone for children. The company aims to transform the land-based part of the marina from the rather sterile, industrial place it is at the moment into a venue that people will enjoy and bring their families to.
We want to turn this place into one of the main centres for our community. Somewhere with something for everyone; the people who live and work here, the people who want to berth here, and the businesses who’ve set themselves up here. That’s one of the reasons we have consulted so widely with the people of Opua and with hapu and iwi. The result of this effective and genuine engagement is a project that has the blessing of people and groups from a variety of backgrounds and interests. Indeed, one of the accomplishments of this project that we have been most proud of has been the engagement and partnership that has been developed and fostered between hapu, iwi and Far North Holdings.
An economic report commissioned by Far North Holdings from Auckland-based consultancy ME Economics indicates that the wider financial benefit to the region is in the order of $23m a year from Year Five, when the marina becomes fully operational. And research conducted by the Opua Business Association indicates that businesses in the town have forecast a 44 percent growth in turnover and an estimated 60 new positions as a result of the development.
The new commercial building under construction at Opua is one of three buildings approved as part of the original consented marina expansion. These will provide services to meet the needs of both the local community and the increased number of international and domestic boats visiting Opua and the Bay of Islands.
The new building has been designed to maximise the benefits of the location. It will be the new home of the Marina Café, its wrap-around decks providing a good view of what’s happening around the marina and connecting directly to the boardwalk.
There will be a larger retail space at the rear and three apartments on the first floor overlooking the marina.
Expect significant transformation of the Opua waterfront over the next six months as the reclamation is levelled and seeded to create swathes of green landscaped and benched areas along the boardwalk. Landscaping and pedestrian and cycle links will be developed around the building to make the marina as family friendly and accessible as possible.
A new sealed car park will replace the old metalled car park area. This will improve the visual appearance of the area and reduce dust. It will also reduce traffic conflict as it will be clearly marked out.
The town of Kawakawa in the Bay of Islands is set to be transformed through the creation of a new arts, culture and environment Centre that celebrates the town’s connection with Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and the rich culture in the area.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser built the now world-famous Hundertwasser toilets with the local community and this, his last and only building in the southern hemisphere, opened in 1999, just months before he died.
The project’s instigator is the Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park Charitable Trust, which established the vision in 2008 and has a clear charitable charter. The Trust is working in partnership/co-governance with Ngati Hine to create a truly unique visitor experience for locals and visitors alike, with a ground floor interpretive centre and memorial to Hundertwasser, a first floor gallery and community workshop, and a viewing platform looking out across the park. The Centre is to be officially known as the Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park Centre, Te Hononga, the joining of cultures.
Far North Holdings has worked closely with the community and played a central role in enabling and facilitating the project, forming a Project Partnership Group with the local Hundertwasser Park Charitable Trust, Te Runanga O Ngati Hine, Kawakawa Business and Community Association, Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board, Northland Regional Council and the Far North District Council.
This economic regeneration initiative will enhance the town’s ability to benefit from the already significant flow of visitors attracted to the Hundertwasser Toilets, the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway and the Twin Coast Cycleway.
Te Hononga will serve an estimated 350,000 visitors a year (more than 250,000 visitors already visit the existing Hundertwasser Toilets each year). New public amenities will relieve pressure on the original Hundertwasser toilets ‘artwork’ and provide an enhanced visitor experience, increasing the length of time spent in Kawakawa. The project will also significantly improve infrastructure, parking and amenities at the busy SH1 and SH11 junction. The proposal also aims to connect with the Twin Coast Cycleway, rerouting the already busy and congested SH1 trail onto a much safer and more scenic route through the Hundertwasser Park.
The proposal sees demolition of the existing building adjacent to the Hundertwasser toilets, opening the site to a new town square and civic space, and to the community park at the back. This will make it safe and accessible for families to use, as previously it was not visible from the main road. It will also provide a real sense of place and community in the centre of town.
The Far North District Council will relocate the public library and service centre into the new centre, ensuring good community use and ownership of the development and providing a sustainable anchor tenant for the project.
The Centre will be a showcase of environmental building and design. A wider kaupapa of arts, culture and environment will be at the heart of the centre, its exhibitions and community programmes run by the Trust and Ngati Hine.
Facilities will also be developed for cyclists and freedom campers. These will include bicycle racks and coin-operated ablution facilities such as 24/7 showers and toilets.
The community-driven initiative has been 18 months in planning and has required negotiation with multiple landowners. It now enjoys the firm support of the community, iwi, FNDC and NRC.
Previously there was no acceptable access arrangement to this land that would allow the development to proceed. By working with an adjoining landowner, who was previously unable to develop his site as NZTA would not permit access/egress from State Highway 1, we have formulated a solution acceptable to all parties. A one-way system will be developed whereby access is through the landowner’s site and egress will be through the FNDC site.
The improved coach and car parking at the rear of the site, owned and funded by Far North District Council, will ease congestion on SH1. It will allow coaches to be unloaded safely, and visitors will have access to the Kawakawa high street through the town square/atea.
It is anticipated that cyclists and other visitors will spend longer in Kawakawa as a result of this unique building, the landscaped park and the town square/atea. This will boost revenue to many local businesses, provide a cultural experience in the heart of Kawakawa and serve the wider Bay of Islands and Mid and Far North communities.
It will aid the creation of a regional Hundertwasser tourism circuit linking the Whangarei Museum, the Kaurinui development (where Hundertwasser is buried) and the original toilets/and Te Hononga in Kawakawa. This could be promoted both domestically and internationally.
It will take advantage of the growth in cruise ship numbers in the Bay of Islands, and will become part of the coach circuit created for these tourists.
The real foundation of the project is the community. Community ownership and use of the development is fundamental to its success. FNHL and the project partners have engaged with all sectors of the community. Everyone will have some involvement in the design and development of both the town square and the adjoining park to ensure they feel part of what will be a significant transformation.
Far North Holdings has entered into a commercial agreement with the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Hokianga to redevelop and expand its accommodation. We will build 10 high-end units on adjacent land which we will own and lease back to the hotel.
Construction is taking place in two phases. Work on the first 10 units has started and is expected to be complete by December this year to cater for the influx of summer visitors.
The units will have a kiwi bach theme. They will appear simple yet elegant from the outside but will have five-star interior design, furnishing and facilities.
This is a sales and lease-back joint venture. It will allow an existing solid West Coast Northland business to grow and contribute further to the local economy while expanding our commercial asset base.
Shane Lloydd, owner of the Copthorne Hokianga, said the business had ambitious plans to take advantage of an “unprecedented” growth in Northland visitor numbers but wasn’t able to make these happen without a JV partner.
We are very happy to be this partner. This is a solid commercial venture rooted in sound economics. It ticks all the boxes that we use to evaluate projects that we become involved with. It has commercial benefits for Far North Holdings and the ratepayers of our district. It has economic benefits for Omapere, Opononi and the South Hokianga area generally. And it is of significant social benefit to this part of our region too.
It will certainly strengthen the Far North’s tourism offering on the west coast.
The deal complements our previous investment in the commercial infrastructure of this part of the district, in the form of the iSite, café and 4Square building in Opononi. It is the second such build/lease arrangement we have entered into in recent years, the previous one being the ultra-modern boat-building and paint shop facilities we built on the site of the former Ashby’s Boatyard in Opua, now occupied by Bluefix Boatworks.
Enabling and empowering Far North businesses is very much part of Far North Holdings’ brief. We invite any business owners who have projects they think we might be able to help with, to get in touch. The only proviso being that such projects would have to offer commercial, economic and social benefits for Far North ratepayers.