Dawn bless­ing for Opua ma­rina project

The Bay Chronicle - - WHAT’S ON - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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.

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