Contractors arrive for landmark development

Published: Jul 23, 2020

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  • Bay of Plenty

Ōpōtiki held an official welcome on Wednesday 22 July for contractors starting work on the Ōpōtiki Harbour construction, part of a wider development that is set to transform the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Two men standing abreast in front a landscape of trees and blue sky with clouds.

Whakatōhea Trust Board Chair Robert Edwards and Provincial Development Unit Investment Director Jason Hall.

Business leaders, engineers and designers from leading construction company HEB Construction and engineering consultancy Tonkin & Taylor were welcomed by Whakatōhea iwi with a pōwhiri at Ōpōtiki District Council. 

"For our people of Whakatōhea it was appropriate that we welcomed the HEB team and our other contractors with a pōwhiri,” says Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board Chairman, Robert Edwards. 

"This project will be a game-changer economically and socially for our hapū and iwi, but it also significant because of the connection to the whenua and the moana, of which our people have a keen interest in.

"The contractors will be spending a lot of time here over the coming years, so we look forward to getting to know them more."

HEB Construction has been awarded the contract to design and build the new harbour, which will help to unlock the aquaculture potential of the township. The project is expected to create around 1,850 jobs, including over 730 in Ōpōtiki. 

Ōpōtiki District Council received $79.4 million funding from the Government’s New Zealand Upgrade programme for the harbour development. This investment is in addition to $19.85 million of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund to support the construction of a mussel processing factory in Ōpōtiki. 

These investments will enable significant aquaculture initiatives in the region, and serve as a catalyst for private investment in marine-related industries. These developments represent opportunities for employment and economic growth in the region, which will boost the wellbeing of many communities in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. 

Ōpōtiki Mayor Lyn Riesterer says the work has been more than 20 years in the making and it seems each week there is a new milestone.

"Recently, we had karakia on one of the access roads where enabling works have already started. Today’s pōwhiri for our contractors marks the point at which the team has come together, put on their high viz and safety boots and got down to the brass tacks of building our harbour entrance.

"The benefits we have been working towards for all these years start now and grow each month. Our contractors have committed to employing locally, our rangatahi have new job and training opportunities, and our local businesses and retailers will feel the flow-on effects as well,” says Ōpōtiki Mayor Lyn Riesterer.

Guests including representatives from Whakatōhea iwi, the Ōpōtiki District Council, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Ministry of Social Development attended to show their support.

People in high-vis gear walking towards a site for karakia in a rural setting.

Contractors and staff gather as karakia are made on the site of development