Locals to benefit from visitor funding

Thursday 30 June 2022

Ever wanted to star gaze from atop the Waihī Beach trig trail and learn about Matariki? Thanks to a $100,000 grant and co-funding from Council, you’ll soon be able to.

The team at Western Bay of Plenty District Council are thrilled to receive more than $450,000 from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF), which will go toward three new projects to help boost the Western Bay’s domestic and international tourism offering.

The funding will allow Council to build Matariki star gazing platforms at Waihī Beach along the trig trails, install toilets and seal the carpark at Poripori swimming hole and improve road access to event facilities at TECT Park.

TIF exists to help Councils across Aotearoa create and manage tourism infrastructure, and this year the fund criteria included a new category - infrastructure to support the delivery and management of Matariki events. In each case, Council will also contribute a smaller sum, to get the projects off the ground.

Gary Allis, Deputy CEO and General Manager Infrastructure Group says the stars aligned for these three new projects in the Western Bay.

“We’re really proud of the facilities that we offer visitors and thrilled that we can keep growing the experience for them with these new projects. 

“It’s lucky for us that the successful projects are local favourites too – we know the people of Waihī Beach love the trig, loop and dam trails, and they’ll make good use of the new Matariki star gazing platforms in Matariki 2023.

“Having just celebrated Aotearoa’s first Matariki public holiday, we know this installation will be really special and it’ll help our communities to celebrate the importance of Matariki for years to come.”

The Poripori swimming hole is another local hotspot. It’s not unusual to see 100 people picnicking and swimming there on a sunny day.

Gary says, “Thanks to the Tourism Infrastructure Fund and Council co-funding, come late summer you’ll be able to park safely on a chip-sealed Poripori carpark area and use a new toilet - which I’m sure will be a great relief.”

At TECT Park, funding has been approved to seal 1.8km of Whataroa Road, allowing year-round access to the five-hectare events area and motorsport zone. This will make for safer driving conditions and will help keep ongoing maintenance costs down. All going to plan, and the road will be sealed by Christmas 2022.

Waihī Beach Matariki star gazing platforms

TIF funded $100,000, Council contribution $100,000

Three platform structures will be constructed across three summits on the Waihī Beach trig, linked together by the existing walking trail. The platforms and associated signage will include cultural information from Tangata whenua that will inform international visitors and residents about the rich cultural history of the site.

Each platform will be approximately 100 square metres in size, and will also help to protect the environment from the many visitors who love to use this track.


Poripori carpark and toilets

TIF funded $40,000 capital, $10,000 operational, Council contribution $40,000

Known as one of the Bay’s best known freshwater swimming spots, Poripori swimming hole is much loved by the public. The new toilet facilities and carparking will provide an improved visitor experience, and protect the environment and water quality.


TECT Park road access improvements

TIF funded $300,000, Council contribution $300,000

Sealing 1.8km of Whataroa Road will give event organisers confidence that the road to the events space and the motorsport areas is usable in all weather. Sealing will also prevent the sometimes dangerous level of dust generated by the current gravel road which affects other park users and it will make the often corrugated and bumpy road much safer to drive.