Making Te Hiku a great place to live

Published on 12 May 2022

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With news headlines dominated by major events at home and overseas, it’s easy to lose sight of the many projects communities and council are working on to make Te Hiku a great place to live. In recent weeks, I have attended two events to officially open new facilities. While the projects are very different in size and funding, each will have a hugely positive impact on community wellbeing for years to come.

Last month, more than 40 people gathered at Pukenui to officially re-open New Zealand's northernmost commercial wharf. For over 50 years this vital piece of maritime infrastructure has served the local fishing fleet, recreational and charter boats, fishers and swimmers. It is also home to fuel bowsers at the wharf carpark, and a marine diesel supply on the wharf itself. We closed the wharf almost a year ago to allow for a $2.4 million upgrade that installed a new concrete pontoon and gangway, timber service dock, and allowed trucks to load and unload on the wharf. We’ve even installed fishing rod holders on the service deck so anyone who wants to cast in a line can do so. Repairs were also made to a seawall at the carpark end of the wharf. The upgrade was due to be completed by October but was delayed two months by the August COVID-19 lockdown and related supply issues. Despite those challenges, we managed to get the wharf open in time for Christmas. Credit for that achievement goes to local contractors and Far North Holdings staff, who managed the project.

The new wharf will benefit this remote community for many years to come. It not only makes commercial fishing operations easier, safer and more efficient; it has also increased the number of berths available for recreational vessels, making this part of the coast more attractive to local and visiting boaties. The council provided $1.4 million towards the work with the government’s Provisional Growth Fund provided $1 million. A separate project funded entirely by the council has already renewed the boat ramp next to the wharf and is adding trailer parks to the new concrete parking area.

This month, and on the opposite coast, I attended another ribbon cutting ceremony. While this project targets a very different group and is on a much smaller scale, I know the long-term benefits will be just as profound. The playground at Korora Park at Ahipara has undergone a major revamp, making it four times larger. It now features a flying fox, mini-trampolines, slides, swings and all the equipment tamariki love to explore. It proved an instant hit with youngsters when I joined councillors and community members to officially open the $352,000 upgrade. The success of this project is due to community leadership, assisted by their local councillor. It was funded through the government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

These are just two examples of projects we are working on with Te Hiku communities that are making this a great place to live in. I want to acknowledge all those who help make that happen.