Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Kawatiri: Drifting Slowly From The 19th Century To Today

Hauauru - Some things never change over in Buller, on the West Coast. The people are great, an amphitheatre of breathtaking natural beauty from the mountains to the sea and its wild beaches; and now it is one of the best performed regions in Aotearoa.

The scenic Kawatiri (Buller) has benefitted from a resurgence in domestic tourism, with locals and Kiwi tourists spending 22.3 percent more last covid year compared with 2019.

A renewed interest in the quieter lifestyle has benefitted Buller, with a 16.2 percent increase in house prices last year.

Buller’s economy has bounced back well after the June quarter lockdown, with Infometrics provisional estimates showing a 3.4 percent increase in GDP in 2020 was the highest in New Zealand.

This was driven by strong performances in the September and December quarters, which offset a decline in June from the covid lockdown.

Overall consumer spending in the district rose 7.5 percent last year, despite the absence of overseas tourists.

The economic effect of the global health crisis could have been particularly severe on the West Coast, a region for the last few decades being increasingly reliant on overseas tourists.

But Kawatiri and Westport’s economy has proved exceptionally robust.

The diversity of the regional economy lends itself to resilience – agriculture and mining remain the dominant sectors.

Kawatiri mayor Jamie Cleine says Hauauru (Westport) retailers have been incredibly healthy throughout the pandemic, with a big push to shop and support locally.

Whitebait is becoming a renewable food source after a government investment to farm the popular little fish in Kawatiri.

Buller District Council received $2 million to get the whitebait farm up and running with commercial partner New Zealand Whitebait. The project aims to produce up to 100 tonnes of whitebait a year. Manāki Premium New Zealand Whitebait is Aotearoa’s first and only 100 percent sustainably produced whitebait. Four of six whitebait species are threatened or at risk of extinction.

Elsewhere, there has been a substantial rise in dairy production, and large areas of previously abandoned land are being farmed. Eleven dairy farms are up for sale in the district, between $1-3.5 million.

The town’s retail precinct has a long way to go to look appealing but there are some signs. Grumpy’s fish and chip shop food is world class. The Whanake café and gallery matches anything similar in Aotearoa.

The old chief post office is such an imposing art deco building, easily the most outstanding building on the coast. The original building collapsed in the 1929 Murchison earthquake and was replaced by the stunning art deco Municipal Chambers, built with reinforced concrete, with interior work in rimu and terrazzo floors.

Buller will profit more from one of its newest projects, the 55km Kawatiri Coastal Trail, a cycle and walking trail from Hauauru to Charleston following in the footsteps of early Maori and the 1860s gold miners.

About 95km north is Karamea, which borders Kahurangi National Park and is a haven for caving, birdwatching, mountain biking, fishing and hunting, kayaking and rafting. The coast drive north is one of the most beautiful drives in New Zealand.

Punakaiki, 56km drive south, was hugely popular before covid with tourists, mostly for its Pancake Rocks.

Inland 85km is Reefton, a quirky inland town nestled among the spectacular Paparoa and Victoria ranges. The town lies alongside the wild Inangahua River and is surrounded by the Victoria Conservation Park which at 180,000ha is New Zealand's largest.

Back in the 1870s, Reefton became the first place in New Zealand to have a public supply of electricity.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The America’s Cup, Critical Race Theory And A New, Weekly Music Playlist

So… Why don’t they just cut to the chase, and call it the Emirates Cup? As this column predicted several months ago, the next America’s Cup challenge is headed overseas. Here’s what Werewolf said back in March:
Emirates has made a major commitment to Portsmouth/Isle of Wight as a sailing centre of excellence – and voila, that’s where the next challenger of record is coming from, and where the next Cup contest could well be sailed. Such incredible luck for Emirates, right..? More>>


Marine: Wider Roll-out Of Cameras On Boats To Support Sustainability And Protect Marine Life

Up to 300 inshore commercial fishing vessels will be fitted with on-board cameras by 2024 as part of the Government’s commitment to protect the natural marine environment for future generations... More>>


Government: Plan For Vaccine Rollout For General Population Announced

New Zealanders over 60 will be offered a vaccination from July 28 and those over 55 from August 11, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today... More>>


Jewish Council: New Zealand Not Immune From Rise In Antisemitism

The representative body of New Zealand Jewry, the NZ Jewish Council (NZJC), has expressed concern about the high number of antisemitic incidents in New Zealand recorded last month. Spokesperson for the NZJC, Juliet Moses, said... More>>

NZNO: Nurses Reject DHB Offer And Confirm Strike Action

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says its 30,000 members who work in DHBs have voted overwhelmingly to reject a second offer in their current round of multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) negotiations... More>>





InfoPages News Channels