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Why is Council redeveloping the reserve?
Waitōharuru/Tarawera Landing is a very popular reserve for locals and visitors. It is used for a number of recreation and leisure activities including swimming, fishing, walking and picnicking. The reserve is also home to a number of commercial and tourism operations including The Landing Café, Rotorua Duck Tours, fishing charters and lake cruises and an event venue.
The area is also culturally and historically significant to mana whenua Tūhourangi and to the Rotorua district. Adjacent to the recreational reserve is Punaromia which features one of the most accessible Wāhi Tapu rock art sites in New Zealand. The site features drawings of ancestral Māori waka on a cliff face directly facing Mount Tarawera. The art connects Tūhourangi with their tupuna (ancestors) and deepens the relationship between the people and the whenua (land).
These different activities occurring in a small area has resulted in a number of issues that need to be addressed. The issues include parking, safety, access, and awareness of the significance of the area to mana whenua and the Rotorua district.
The plan for redevelopment aims to address those issues while maintaining the natural character of the area and enhancing the environment. The redevelopment will also help to achieve the future aspirations of Tūhourangi and the Tarawera community.
What are the known issues?
- Lack of general awareness, acknowledgement or understanding of the cultural and historical significance of the reserve.
- Damaged or aging infrastructure.
- Public toilet facilities are generally not fit for purpose and in need of renewal work to bring them up to the standard expected of a premier destination (this work is now underway).
- Access and protection of the Wāhi Tapu rock site needs to be maintained and enhanced.
- Safety of pedestrians in parking areas and swimmers near boats as they enter and exit the water.
How will the redevelopment address the known issues?
The current concept plan uses natural materials and simple spaces that work with the landscape to enhance the functionality and enjoyment of the reserve. The key aspects of the plan are:
- Realignment of the jetty and boat ramp to create a separation of space for boat movements in and out of the lake.
- Relocation and angling the jetty to separate swimmers from the boat ramp area.
- Optimise parking areas and define boat trailer and coach parking.
- A pedestrian-friendly zone to separate boat and coach parking and vehicles entering the reserve to park and visit for other types of activities.
- Information and signage to conserve and promote the cultural and heritage value of the reserve.
- Improve function and visual appearance of existing infrastructure.
Is this concept plan the final design?
This concept plan has been developed in partnership with Tūhourangi and Tarawera community partners and addresses known issues. Once we have heard from the community, the next step is to move into detailed design. While the concept plan does give a general idea of what the redevelopment will achieve, the more detailed aspects such as plantings and park furniture may change as part of the detailed design process.
How is this being funded?
A grant of $293,000 was awarded to Council by the Government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund in 2019. The remainder of the investment into reserve infrastructure will be funded by Rotorua Lakes Council. Further funding will be sought to carry out future work to enhance and protect the heritage and cultural sites in the adjacent Punaromia area.
When will work start?
From concept design the next steps will be to move into the final design phase. Once a final design is complete, Council will need to go through a Resource Consent process before any physical work can take place. The following steps in preparation for redevelopment will include a tender process to secure contractors and then physical work. The earliest tentative construction start date for the next stage of works is February 2022. Once a start date can be scheduled, Council will share this information with the community.
Where possible the work programme will be timed to minimise disruption to users, especially during busier times of the year such as the opening of trout fishing season and during dabchick breeding season.
Who else is involved?
Council has been working in partnership with Tūhourangi Tribal Authority since 2018 on a plan to redevelop the reserve.
Council has also been working with community partners such as Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Fish & Game, Tarawera Ratepayers Association and commercial operators such as Totally Tarawera, The Landing Café and Rotorua Duck Tours.