Dawn blessing for Opua marina project
A dawn unveiling ceremony at Bay of Islands Marina in Opua conferred the blessing of tangata whenua on 149 new marina berths and work which will start soon on the next phase of the marina’s expansion project.
Four pou were unveiled, along with a commemorative anchor stone and a touchstone representing local hapu Ngati Manu on August 11.
They will frame the entrance to the marina and acknowledge the richness of Maori history in the Opua basin.
The next stage of the project will see the construction of apartments, shops, offices and a landscaped recreational area specifically designed to benefit the wider Opua community.
‘‘The area has for decades had a rather sterile and industrial feel to it,’’ Far North Holdings chief executive Andy Nock says.
‘‘We have successfully completed the reclamation stage of the project and work will now start on turning this place into one of the main centres for our community.
‘‘That’s good for everyone; the people who live and work here, the people who want to berth here, and the businesses who’ve set themselves up here.’’
Nock says Far North Holdings was taking tangata whenua with it on this journey out of respect for the heritage of whanau, hapu and iwi.
Arapeta Hamilton, speaking for Ngati Manu, says it was appropriate that the marina extension featured the story of his people.
‘‘Work will now start on turning this place into one of the main centres for our community.’’
He says Opua had been about boats and trading since his entrepreneurial ancestor Pomare II lived at Otuihu in the 1800s.
The pou have been installed at Ngati Manu’s suggestion and were commissioned from local craftsmen by Far North Holdings. Each pou has been rendered by a senior Maori carver.
The touchstone, Ko Te Kohatu Manea o Ngati Manu, was taken from a nearby quarry and is shaped like a birds head.
People are encouraged to touch it, whereupon a person’s negative energy is said to dissipate.
The wider financial benefit of the new marina to the region is estimated to be $23 million a year from the fifth year of full operation, through longer stays, a greater number of visitors and the associated repair and maintenance work.
The Opua Business Association says businesses in the town could enjoy a 44 percent growth in turnover and that about 60 new jobs could be created.
Arapeta Hamilton from Ngati Manu places a hand on the touchstone, Ko Te Kohatu Manea o Ngati Manu.
Guests touched the pou.