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Upgrade work begins at Whangarei Falls

 
The entrance to Whangarei’s most visited tourist spot, Otuihau, Whangarei Falls, will be getting a makeover this winter.
Updated: 3/08/2015 3:10 p.m.
Photograph of Whangarei Falls.

​Whangarei's iconic Whangarei Falls.

The entrance to Whangarei’s most visited tourist spot, Otuihau, Whangarei Falls, will be getting a makeover this winter.

Improvements to the parking area, removing problem trees, adding new plants and gardens, creating a through road and almost tripling the number of car park spaces from 14 to 41 spaces, are part of a bigger picture, says Infrastructure and Services Project Engineer David Floyd.

“These changes to the carpark will be obvious to those who visit or live in the area, but they also represent a bigger picture, one where we are looking at the whole area and seeing how a lot of things fit together. 

“Consultation with the mana whenua for the area, Pehiaweri Marae, about removing some exotic trees, brought up a lot of other work that values Otuihau in many different ways.

“Working on many levels to improve water quality in the Hatea River has been the focus of lots of discussions between the local community, Whangarei District Council, the Northland Regional Council, Ngatihau, whitebaiters and farmers to name just a few of those involved.

“Our work will also help water quality by retaining a large buffer between the carpark and the river rather than paving the lawn space.  Removing the exotic trees will also help to affirm the relationship between the Marae and the River – so people can see who its guardians are. We will also ensure sediment is kept out of the River during the roadworks.

 “Removing the exotic trees will also make the space safer, more open and reduce shadows for people to loiter in.

“We will be creating gardens of rocks and grasses between each group of parking spaces, and that will give the whole area a more garden-like feel than it has now.

“Creating a shared walking/through road will also make vehicle movements through the area less complicated,” Mr Floyd said.

“More signs will also provide opportunities to reinforce the ecological value of the site and the water, and more of an opportunity to talk to the community about the special nature of the area. People might just come to see the waterfall, but when they do we can make  the most of the opportunity to explain how Otuihau is about much more than a pretty piece of scenery.”

Plan of upgrade to Whangare Falls entrance showing a new one way road and parking space increases from 14 to 41.


“Quite often we refer to 'sense of place' when we are doing these kinds of works, but there is another landscape architecture term that captures the concept well, and that is Genius Loci. 

“This term refers to the guardian spirit of a place, or the special atmosphere of a particular place.  Our aim is for the work we do, in partnership with others, to honour and enhance that quality for the people long associated with it, for visitors and for the environment itself.”  Senior Landscape Architect Bruno Gilmour. 

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