Opening blessing for Wairākei Stream

Opening blessing for Wairākei  Stream Opening blessing for Wairākei  Stream Opening blessing for Wairākei  Stream Opening blessing for Wairākei  Stream

A ceremony on the banks of the Wāirakei Stream, and the planting of five kahikatea marks the start of a landscape enhancement plan for Te Ara O Wāirakei and Wāirakei/Taylor Reserve in Papamoa. 

Tangata whenua, Tauranga City Council members and Boffa Miskell consultants attended the ceremony, with a blessing led by kaumatua Pahu Akuhata. Tauranga deputy mayor Kelvin Clout and Councillor Leanne Brown were also present.

The Wairākei Landscape Plan involves landscaping, new footpaths, boardwalks and bridges, signage and park furniture and about 500,000 new plants along the 10km stream corridor. Boffa Miskell’s involvement with the project goes back to 2004, when we were engaged by Tauranga City Council to prepare a comprehensive landscape concept plan and resource consent application for the Papamoa stormwater reserve corridor. The 78-hectare reserve is contained within a very narrow area with varying levels of urbanisation. The stream has important cultural associations for tangata whenua, and contains several important archaeological features, including a unique swamp pa.

Engaging the local communities associated with each major section of the reserve has been a key component of this project. Consultation ensured that the design enhanced what people saw as the reserve’s positive qualities while also addressing community concerns about the reserve’s management.

Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout said it was an honour to be involved in the ceremony, which recognised tangata whenua relationships with the Wairākei Stream. “This plan recognises the significance that the area has for tangata whenua, and provides for structures, cultural art and traditional practices in the reserve following extensive consultation with local iwi and hapu, and the wider community,” Mr Clout said.

Implementation of the landscape plan will contribute to the two reserves becoming significant recreational assets for Papamoa and the wider Tauranga community, particularly given the expanding local population base. Implementation will also provide a strategic cycling route, improved visual amenity and ecological value. The reserve will be a focal point for the new Wairākei Town Centre and lateral integration with the future urban area, and the design is aligned with Tauranga City Council’s Urban Design Strategy, Smart Living Places, Open Space Strategy principles, best practice for resilient cities, and SmartGrowth.

Tauranga-based ecologist Louise Saunders has been involved with the project since its beginning, and was present at the opening blessing. She says, “Given our long-standing involvement with the project, it was such a pleasure to be part of the official blessing. The five kahikatea we planted represent the three main iwi/hapu groups, Tauranga City Council and Boffa Miskell, who collaborated to achieve the final design.”

The first stage of the Wairākei Landscape Plan is expected to be completed in 2021, and community engagement workshops for Stage 2 of the project are already underway.

For further information please contact Louise Saunders, Craig Batchelar or Bryan Sanson

25 October 2018