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Large Crowd Turns Out To Celebrate New Pouto Wharf

Close to 100 people came together at the southern tip of the Pouto Peninsula to celebrate the opening of a new wharf in Kaipara last week.

Guests were welcomed on to Waikaretu marae with a powhiri and a mihi whakatau before everyone made their way down to Pouto Point where the new 60 metre long wharf stretches out into the harbour.

Pouto wharf opening event attendees (Photo/Supplied)

Cutting the ribbon was a group affair, with Kaipara District Mayor Craig Jepson, Minister Hon Mark Patterson (Associate Minister for Regional Development, Associate Minister for Agriculture, and Minister for Rural Communities), MP for Northland Grant McCallum, and Waikaretu kaumatua Ben Hita all taking scissors to the red ribbon.

Kaumatua Ben Hita led a blessing for the wharf. Tamariki (children) from Pouto kura wove waiata and haka throughout the proceedings, to welcome guests and in support of speakers.

Standing at the wharf head with the harbour in the background, Kaipara District Mayor Craig Jepson addressed the crowd and acknowledged the uniqueness of Pouto and the opportunities the wharf opened up for the community and the wider district.

“Pouto is a special place not just for its variety of scenic beauty.”

“Having a wharf down here unlocks opportunities for business, for moving produce and people around the district and down to Auckland, for developing tourism ventures, ventures like cycle tours and horse riding tours, low impact adventures that bring high value to our district. This will all help to showcase and support our district.”

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The timber decked wharf is built for all tides, so that boats can run alongside at any time of the day and in most types of weather.

Completing Pouto wharf signals the wrap up of the Kaipara Wharves project, which also included the Dargaville pontoon and the Pahi wharf upgrade and pontoon. The work was led by Kaipara District Council and supported by the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) through Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit. Mayor Jepson also personally acknowledged Minister for Regional Development Hon Shane Jones for his foresight and role in making the project happen for the community.

The wharves project supports the strategic direction for Northland provided by the Tai Tokerau Economic Development Action Plan, Kaipara District’s Long Term Plan and numerous regional transport planning initiatives.

With the wharf complete, Kaipara District Council will soon start work to improve Pouto Point carpark. The carpark improvements include sealing the car park and pathway connections to the wharf. Construction is expected to start in the next two months. The carpark work is to be paid for with a central Government Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF) grant and KDC reserve contributions.

About Kaipara KickStart
Kaipara Kickstart was led by Kaipara District Council and consisted of three major initiatives to support regional economic growth through improved access (Kaipara Roads), by enabling water transport (Kaipara Wharves – Dargaville pontoon, Pahi wharf and Poutō wharf) and improving diversity of land use (Kaipara Kai and Kaipara Water). The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) grants from Kānoa – RD for Kaipara Kickstart totalled $17.9 million. A further $740,000 was awarded in March 2020 to demonstrate effective water use for growing crops via two practical demonstration sites (Kaipara Water).

About the Tourism Infrastructure Fund
The central Government Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF) provides up to $25 million annually to develop tourism-related infrastructure that supports regions facing pressure from tourism growth and in need of assistance — such as areas with high visitor numbers but small ratepayer bases.

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