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New look Arataki Visitor Centre opens this week

New look Arataki Visitor Centre opens this week

30 November 2004

A documentary on surfing at Piha, artworks by internationally renowned artists and spectacular new forest displays are just a few of the treats in store at the Arataki Visitor Centre when it reopens this week.

It's the culmination of an extreme makeover for the visitor centre, in Scenic Drive, Titirangi, which serves as a gateway to Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.

The Auckland Regional Council commissioned designers 3D Creative, renowned for innovative display work at Te Papa in Wellington, to transform the interior of the visitor centre.

ARC Parks and Heritage Chair Sandra Coney says the result is a wonderful showcase for the Waitakere Ranges and Auckland's wild west coast.

"The Waitakere Ranges are unique to Auckland and the new visitor centre fit out has drawn on every aspect of the area to bring its past, present and future to life."

New features to look out for include an interactive three dimensional map of Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, artwork from local artists including Dean Buchanan, Peter Siddell, Kate Wells and John Edgar and a new short film introducing visitors to the park through some stunning aerial footage.

There are several touch screen monitors where visitors can choose to view short films on everything from the history of surfing and surf lifesaving in the area to the local artists, writers and musicians that make the Waitakere Ranges home. Tea and coffee will also be available in the visitor centre.

All the new display elements are designed to complement the building's existing architecture with its superb viewing decks and dominant Maori carvings from local iwi Te Kawerau a Maki. Other popular attractions such live insect and lizard displays and the interactive Kids' Corner have been retained.

Cr Coney says the revamp would not have been possible without the help of a multitude of local groups and individuals.

"The ARC is extremely grateful to all those whose, stories, photos, artworks and other contributions are now part of the visitor centre.

"I am sure visitors from Auckland, the rest of New Zealand and from overseas will appreciate the results when they see them."

Cr Coney says the revamp makes the Arataki Visitor Centre a must-see destination for anybody heading out west this summer.

"Even regular visitors to the Waitakere Ranges will find new and interesting things, hear stories and see footage they haven't seen before."

The Arataki Visitor Centre will be open to the public from 9am on Friday 3 December. Summer opening hours are 9am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day.


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