Upgrade to move town's giant kiwi

By Emily Norman emily.norman@age.co.nz -
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AFTER: A new look Eketahuna mock up shows the planned location for the town's iconic white kiwi statue.PHOTO/SUPPLIED
AFTER: A new look Eketahuna mock up shows the planned location for the town's iconic white kiwi statue.PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Eketahuna will be getting some tender love and care this Valentine's Day, which will be the first day of the town's Main St upgrade.

Last week Tararua District councillor Tracey Collis announced the proposed construction start date as February 14 with an estimated works time of 10 weeks.

A mock-up image of the new location for the kiwi has been released showing a paved area outside the old Post Office building, owned by Chorus, which will be the new location for the town's iconic white kiwi statue and information centre.

"The development plans are complete and we've got a proposed construction start date of February 14. So Valentine's Day is the day," Mrs Collis said.

The date, which is the day after the Hurricanes pre-season Super Rugby match in Eketahuna, was chosen to avoid having roadworks or construction while the game was on.

"The objectives of the upgrade, which came through strongly at our public consultation meetings were to achieve town pride, an attractive appearance, a safe place to stop, to reflect Eketahuna identity and history, and promote visitor attraction.

"We're not new and modern, so we've kept things rustic and rural because that's what people like about Eketahuna. We're real Kiwi people."

Eketahuna Information Centre co-ordinator Jane Goddard has called Eketahuna home for more than 37 years and said she was excited to have pole position to watch the town's transformation.

"This is all so good for Eketahuna," she said. "I like where the kiwi is now but it does cause an incredible traffic problem because tourists stop and literally walk out into the middle of the road to take photos. We would have about a dozen people take photos of that kiwi each day."

Mrs Goddard said she hopes this layout will encourage people to stop, take photos, and engage with the town.

"We've sort of been called the new Greytown so this upgrade is really going to boost our town. We're really excited about this upgrade and we really hope that this picture is exactly what it's going to end up looking like."

Eketahuna resident and multiple business owner Tanmay Patel said the upgrade would "only bring good things" to the town and that the 10-week construction period will be worth the wait for businesses. "Ten weeks to get that all done is very worth it because it coincides with the town's goal to bring people to the centre of town to stay for longer. That's what we want. It's good for retail, business and all of Eketahuna."

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