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Hummer of a summer on the cards

Wairoa is preparing for a hummer of summer with expectations of lots of holidaymakers.

The district has already experienced record numbers of visitors and spending in October and November and is getting ready for a further influx.

“And why wouldn’t you want to holiday in Wairoa?” asks Wairoa District Council interim chief executive Kitea Tipuna.

“The Wairoa district is beautiful with its natural beaches, bush and waterways offering some amazing getaway experiences.

“Mahia is a drawcard with the population more than tripling over the peak holiday season and we have been doing what we can to cater for this swell in visitors.”

Last year Council, in partnership with Rongomaiwahine Iwi Trust, introduced its Freedom Camping Ambassador programme, made possible through Central Government funding. The programme will continue this summer with ambassadors liaising with holidaymakers and providing any information they need.

At Mahia there will also be increased servicing of litter bins over the peak holiday period and a staffed recycling point at Kaiwaitau Road, Mahia from Dec 21- January 4, 9am-noon excluding public holidays.

Mr Tipuna said Council is building systems to respond to the increases in pressure on local infrastructure and has been successful in receiving significant investment through Central Government’s tourism and responsible camping initiatives

“This external funding means we are able to ensure our infrastructure is able to cope with the increased visitor influx without it having an impact on our ratepayers.”

Council received $450,300 from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund which will go towards the replacement of the Clyde Court toilets in the Wairoa township, installations of ‘big belly’ rubbish bins across the district and a new public toilet at Pilot Hill.

Successful funding of $250,000 through the Responsible Camping Fund which will go towards the continuation of the Mahia Ambassador programme and additional servicing of toilet, waste tanks and rubbish facilities and signage.

The Mahia East Coast Road sealing project, funded to the tune of $8.3million through the Provincial Growth Fund, is also nearing completion and a Business Case for the realignment of the Nuhaka/Opoutama Road, particularly focussed on the blowhole dropout, has been completed.

A $1.2 million contract to repair the Rangitahi dropout near the Waitepatu Culvert, also on the Mahia East Coast Road, is progressing and will be opened to one lane with traffic light control.

Mr Tipuna said these roads are critical routes for residents, holiday homeowners and tourists as well as businesses including tourism, forestry, farmers, retailers, other businesses and Rocket Lab.

“They were all in need of urgent remedial works to improve connectivity and health and safety for residents and tourists.

Also, to promote safer driving the Wairoa District Council has partnered with Roadsafe Hawke’s Bay to install the billboards on local rural roads. Messages will be based around slowing down and driving sober with the billboards set to be installed before the summer break when Wairoa experiences its high-volume traffic season.

With more Kiwis holidaying at home there has been an increase in domestic visitors flocking to Wairoa. September 2020 figures from the Wairoa i-Site show a visitor increase of more than 30 percent with 728 people registering their visit at the i-Site compared with 551 in September 2019.

Wairoa’s visitor spend is remaining strong and in the 12 months to October 2020, total visitor spend for Wairoa District was $18.1m. That’s up 3.2% on the previous year when the visitor spend was recorded at $17.5million. The 3.2% growth is the fourth best among all 67 territorial authorities.

Wairoa welcomes responsible campers and encourages the use of designated commercial camping grounds and DOC campsites. Freedom camping brochures are available from the i-Site and the Council website and Freedom Camping ambassadors can provide accurate information on where to camp and any associated restrictions.

Camping in self-contained vehicles is permitted on any area owned by the local authority within the district unless it is a prohibited area which is marked with blue signs. Self-contained camping is travelling in a motorhome with a built-in kitchen, bathroom, a freshwater tank and holding tanks for black and grey water.

Here's how you can help to maintain the district's natural environment during your stay:

  • Use the toilets available in the area.
  • Take advantage of local laundry facilities for washing clothes.
  • Enjoy local facilities for bathing.
  • Dump your rubbish only at designated areas (i. e. the Wairoa landfill).
  • Ensure your black water (sewage) and grey water (shower, sink and hand wash basin water) holding tanks are discharged at designated wastewater dump stations.

And don’t forget a liquor ban applies to Wairoa 24 hours a day/365 day a year and at Mahia 24 hours a day from December 20 to January 20 every year.

“We welcome visitors and holidaymakers to enjoy our wonderful district and all its natural beauty and opportunities, have fun and please behave in a responsible manner,” said Mr Tipuna.

For more information call into the Wairoa i-Site on (06) 838 7440 or head to www.visitwairoa.co.nz.

14 December 2020

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