The Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has granted $400,000 to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council for a facilities upgrade at Waitangi Regional Park.
The funds will help to build a toilet block and establish a permanent electricity connection to the marquee site.
Council says planning and designing are already underway, with construction expected to begin early 2023.
Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust’s, Piripi Smith says power, running water and toilets to Ātea a Rangi will be a game changer for the overall visitor experience.
“Matariki is an event where Māori mātauranga gets the recognition it deserves, and we can pass down stories and knowledge to the next generation. This funding means Matariki and other events can be scaled up,” Mr Smith said.
Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Chief Executive, Chrissie Hape says the facilities will enable whānau to spend longer, enjoy and learn more about the history of Iwi and the hapū of this rohe.
“Waitangi Park Reserve is a significant place within the history of Ngāti Kahungunu ; it is where the Takitimu waka first landed in Heretaunga and where several Heretaunga chiefs including Te Hapuku signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840,” she said.
“Ātea a Rangi Trust reinforces this navigational history of our people through offerings of mātauranga through wānanga and the physical structure of the Star Compass.”
The Regional Council manages the Hawke’s Bay Trails, and Cycle Network Coordinator, Vicki Butterworth says the facilities will be a fabulous addition at the park.
“Our Hawke’s Bay Trails are one of the busiest Great Rides for Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails, with visitors traversing this park, around the Ātea a Rangi Star compass, learning about the local cultural history and traditional navigation,” said Ms Butterworth.