The four-month long upgrade to Otumuheke Hot Stream in Taupo's Spa Park is complete and more than one hundred people turned out to celebrate its opening on Friday.
The area now has terraced seating, a viewing platform, changing rooms and toilets, a new bridge and story boards outlining the cultural significance of the area.
Four ceremonial pou have been erected at the entrance, and four ribbons, each representing one of the major stakeholders in the project, were stretched between the pou and cut to officially mark the area open.
Taupo Mayor David Trewavas, who was one of the ribbon cutters, thanked all involved and said that in addition to making the site more visually appealing, the upgrade had also addressed erosion, safety and ecological issues.
"The project has been a real partnership, with landowners Patuiwi Maori Reserve Trust, Tūwharetoa Maori Trust Board, Department of Conservation, Taupo District Council, Taupo Police and Waikato Regional Council all working together. Funding has been provided from the Taupo District Council and the Regional Mid-Sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund, and Craters of the Moon Trust contributed to the new bridge. Thanks to all the efforts that have gone into this, we now have an area to be enjoyed for many generations to come."
Patuiwi Maori Reserve Trust Chairman, Matiu Heperi Northcroft, said the respect for cultural awareness throughout the project had restored Otumuheke's cultural integrity and the project was something everyone could be proud of.
"It also provides confidence and confirmation in knowing that the Taupo and Ngāti Tῡwharetoa community can come together in collaboration, and openly and meaningfully choose to amicably acknowledge and respect each other's culture in good faith for a common purpose. The world has now become our oyster to go forward positively from here, and again achieve in collaboration, historic milestones for the better good, and in the best interests of all."
Dame Georgina te Heuheu, Deputy Chair of the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board, who cut one of the ribbons on behalf of descendants of Ngatoroirangi, said the development showed what could be achieved by working together.
"It has been a good undertaking that has resulted in something very significant, and I want to congratulate the partnership. We have a beautiful community and we need to look after what we've got, and this is an example of how we can work together to make sure we show that we care for what we're given and make sure they carry through to the next generation."
Photo caption: Stakeholders gather at the Otumuheke opening ceremony.
September 4 2018
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