Taupō Town Centre Transformation officially opened
The Taupō Town Centre Transformation (TTCT) project and new Airport Terminal have been blessed by local hapū and officially opened by the Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and the Regional Development Minister Hon Kiritapu Allan.
The Taupō Town Centre Transformation blessing took place at dawn on Thursday 9 March and was carried out by the Tauhara Hikuwai hapū, represented by kaumatua Napa Otimi and Manu Blake, with Minister Allan and Taupō Mayor David Trewavas, Sir Tumu te Heuheu, kaumatua, hapū and Taupō District Council representatives, and members of the project team and community in attendance.
As part of the TTCT project, the town’s lakefront business area was extensively redesigned and traffic through the central business district directed via Spa Road and Tītīraupenga Street. This makes the town centre more pedestrian-friendly and ensures it is better connected to the lake and Tongariro Domain.
The project began in 2021 and was funded by $20.6 million from the Kānoa – Regional Development Unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as part of the ‘shovel-ready’ Covid response, with an additional $4.4 million funded by Taupō District Council.
Mayor Trewavas said the new lakefront was something everyone could be proud of and would make the Taupō District even more of a destination.
“The new lakefront is going to be something locals and visitors alike can enjoy for generations to come,” he said.
“Our CBD is now more pedestrian friendly, safer for our young ones and more accessible to those with disabilities, and the lake front development is just a fantastic place to be, a place that connects us to our lake and our mountains, and thanks to some very creative locals it also tells the story of our place.
“Nearly 90 per cent of the funding received for the project has been spent with local businesses so not only have we made our CBD a great place to be, but we have had a much-needed economic shot in the arm during some very difficult times. Everyone involved in the project can be very proud – they have built a legacy for our town that we can all enjoy.”
Project manager Travis Delich said the project had not been without challenges, but the dedication of the Taupō locals working on it had made it a success.
“In addition to the difficulties of working around businesses and road closures, we also had the many disruptions that Covid brought, and then one of the wettest winters on record followed by one of the wettest summers on record!
“But there were so many locals on this project that were determined to make it something that would be unique to us and that brought vibrancy to our town, so we knew it was going to be a success with that kind of passion behind it. And in addition to using local businesses, we also created jobs for about 100 locals, with many of those jobs now turning into careers.”
Mr Delich said that there were too many people involved in the project to thank everyone individually, but noted the fantastic work of local contractors Camex Civil and Downer throughout the project, and the creativity of local company Sign On and artists Kingi Pitiroi and Delani Brown for their work on the mana whenua features of the lakefront.
“The roading and infrastructure work has been a huge part of this project and has reshaped how we interact with our CBD, but the cultural aspects of the lakefront are what makes this whole project special. They are unique to our district and tell a story that is unique to us. Working with locals on this part of the project has been one of the most rewarding aspects.”
Following the blessing and official opening of the Town Centre Transformation project, the Prime Minister, Minister Allan and attendees travelled to take part in the official opening of the new Taupō Airport Terminal.
The new terminal building had a budget of $9.237 million, funded with $3.367 million allocated in the Council's Long-term Plan, a $5 million grant from the Crown’s Provincial Development Unit, and $870,000 from the Ministry of Transport.
Project manager Pernille Fletcher said the new terminal was designed by local company Shelter Architects and built by Taupō firm Watts Construction, and the new parking facilities have been constructed by Camex Civil and Todd Land Development.
“The new terminal is a real asset for our entire district,” she said.
“Not only is it much larger than the old terminal, it represents something that is uniquely Taupō, with a mauri stone from Mt Tauhara and rimu logs from the Pureora forest incorporated into the design. It’s a fitting welcome for visitors and it will be at the heart of a growing aviation hub here in Taupō.”
Minister Allan paid tribute to the tenacity of the people of Taupō who had persisted with bringing the airport terminal project to a conclusion despite “troublesome times” which included supply issues, Covid-19 and other challenges.
“This building is the face of Taupō…the building that stood here [the former terminal] was a humble building and I know from the likes of having our own airport into Tairawhiti opened, this does become the face to the many people that come to this lake.
“May this be a place where the people of New Zealand feel that they have met the breath, the ha, of the people of the lake when they come here.”
Mayor Trewavas said the new terminal was a wonderful way to welcome people to the Taupō District and it was great to see so many locals involved in the project.
“Best of all, it is something unique to us – just look around.”
Master carver Delani Brown said one end of the building faced towards Tauhara maunga and the other end faced towards the kahui maunga – Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe, and the images on the end walls of the terminal reflected that
On the entrance doors is an image of Horomatangi, who takes many forms, from a crayfish or an eel, to light on the water or a shimmer of currents.
Inside the terminal is a 3.5 tonne kohatu, a mauri stone from Mt Tauhara which people could touch as they entered, Mr Brown said.
“So if people don’t reach Tauhara, Tauhara has come to them and they can touch Tauhara.”
The two large rakau were from a 1200-year-old rimu log from Pureora, at the northern end of the lake.
“It’s an honour to be able to have Pureora, not as a picture but as a presence, a rakau from over there.”
Delani said the three elements – the rakau and the images of Tauhara and Tongariro brought together the three areas of the Taupō district: Taupō, Tūrangi and Mangakino.
He summed up by saying the design of the terminal, by Shelter Architects, was simple but effective.
“It’s nice and simple – it doesn’t look like an airport, it feels more like a garden bar or something,” he added, to laughter.
For more information, head to www.taupo.govt.nz/projects.