On Wednesday 22 July, Ōpōtiki held an official welcome for contractors starting work on construction of Ōpōtiki’s Harbour development.
Business leaders, engineers and designers from leading construction company HEB Construction and engineering consultancy Tonkin +Taylor were welcomed by Whakatōhea iwi with a pōwhiri at Ōpōtiki District Council.
HEB Construction was awarded the contract to design and build the new harbour infrastructure in 2017, which will help to unlock the aquaculture potential of the township.
The Harbour Project is the recipient of $79.4 million funding from the Government’s New Zealand Upgrade programme and $20 million from Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Regional Infrastructure Fund.
The Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, said that the pōwhiri marked the start of a new future for the district and the wider Eastern Bay of Plenty. The mussel farm was already operating and more lines were added each season and the Provincial Growth Fund had funded almost $20 million towards the processing factory which was already being built in the town. She said the last piece of the puzzle was the harbour entrance – twin seawalls to create a year-round navigable entryway to the town.
“For me, this marks a significant milestone because it shows that our long-term planning and the partnership forged with Whakatōhea more than 20 years ago to boost wellbeing in our rohe is becoming a reality.
“It feels like each week we are celebrating a new milestone. Recently, we had karakia on one of the access roads where enabling works have already started. Today’s pōwhiri for our contractors marks the point at which the team has come together, put on their high viz and safety boots and got down to the brass tacks of building our harbour entrance.
“The benefits we have been working towards for all these years start now and grow each month. Our contractors have committed to employing locally, our rangatahi have new job and training opportunities, and our local businesses and retailers will feel the flow-on effects as well,” said Ōpōtiki Mayor Lyn Riesterer.
Guests including representatives from Whakatōhea iwi, the Ōpōtiki District Council, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Ministry of Social Development attended to show their support.