Napier City Council has purchased three hectares of land on Mataruahou (Napier Hill) for the site of a new drinking water supply reservoir.
The parcel of land, purchased from property developer Templeton Group, is located on the former Napier Hospital site.
“This project provides an opportunity for co-design with local mana whenua and to build the infrastructure in such a way so the site is accessible to the community. It is an ideal spot for us to tell the story of Mataruahou, given it is a significant and historic site,” says Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise.
Mayor Wise said the Enfield Road reservoir was nearing the end of its life and needed replacing. The current site, the site of the land purchase and several others have been investigated and assessed for their availability, capacity, ease of development and proximity to infrastructure, she said.
“With adjacent land being part of the Deed of Settlement between the Crown and Ahuriri Hapū, represented through Mana Ahuriri, there are opportunities for Mana Ahuriri and NCC to work together to achieve complementary benefits across both sites,” said Cr Wise.
“The purchase by NCC signals the beginning of collaboration with Mana Ahuriri for the overall development of that area of the Hospital site,” says Piri Prentice, of Mana Ahuriri.
It is expected that the project will take several years to complete, with 2024 the earliest it could possibly be completed,” he said.
Mr Prentice said the management of water was of high interest to Māori, particularly with regards to upholding tikanga and cultural values.
Ngā hapū and Hill residents are regarded as essential key stakeholders in this project, and will be part of any future consultation as the project progresses. Mana whenua engagement will also be a key part of the design development.
“Napier City Council approached Templeton Group to explain the criticality of the asset from an infrastructure perspective. Given that this site has been a long-held Government asset which provided health care support to the community for many years, a return to Council ownership for the site to maintain its role as an infrastructure asset that supports its community going forward seemed appropriate,” said Templeton Group chief executive, Nigel McKenna.
“While we’ve made a considerable investment in development plans and are disappointed we cannot proceed with the development, we are pleased we were able to achieve a result that benefits Napier City Council, Mana Ahuriri and the wider community into the future.”