Air New Zealand keen to be part of Rotorua mayor's Sanatorium Reserve restoration plan

By Georgina Harris

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Mayor Steve Chadwick and deputy mayor Dave Donaldson in the area they plan to restore if re-elected. Photo/File
Mayor Steve Chadwick and deputy mayor Dave Donaldson in the area they plan to restore if re-elected. Photo/File

Air New Zealand says it is keen to be part of Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick's plan to restore the Sanatorium Reserve.

As reported yesterday, Mrs Chadwick and deputy mayor Dave Donaldson have stated they would restore the area - between the Sudima Hotel and Puarenga Stream - next term if re-elected.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson confirmed to the Rotorua Daily Post the airline had discussed the proposed Sanatorium project with the Rotorua Lakes Council, and agreed in principle to be a part of the collaborative planning process now underway.

Air New Zealand did not respond when asked how much money they would give to the project.

Mrs Chadwick has admitted she has no idea how much the initiative would cost.

Known as Te Arikiroa, or Sanatorium Reserve, the area was used as the city dump prior to the development of the landfill, said Mrs Chadwick in a statement, calling it a "wasteland of significant cultural and economic value with important environmental aspects".

Mrs Chadwick made the announcement during Conservation Week.

"We have been reminded by many locals and iwi that this was once a pristine ecological site with wetlands and rich biodiversity prior to years of degradation. It is full of buried and dumped car bodies and other waste."

The Air New Zealand spokesperson said the project was aligned to the Air New Zealand sustainability framework.

"It will deliver environmental benefits, provide an ideal opportunity for community involvement and further enhance what is already a compelling proposition for tourists who visit Rotorua."

The spokesperson said the initiative was also supported by the Department of Conservation.

Mrs Chadwick said the initiative would be an exciting project that would inspire "us as a community".

"If we are truly to be known as a destination noted for our beautiful lakes and spectacular geothermal features we need to get moving together, and this is a great initiative."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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