Hawke's Bay Regional Council says it's delighted to confirm near-full funding for the Waitangi Regional Park project, due to start construction later this year.

The Waitangi coastal area is run-down and often the site of rubbish dumping and "poor vehicle use". Council said it's an extremely popular location for recreation activities, but it lacked a vision to breathe life back into it as a regional taonga.

The project team were elated to learn of Lotteries Committee funding approval last month, worth around $1 million.

Councillor and Te Matau a Maui Voyaging Trust trustee, Rex Graham, has been an active supporter.


"There is such a need for this work to acknowledge the culture, history and natural beauty of this special site. By Waitangi Day 2017, between Napier and Hastings, we'll have this stunning location to celebrate our cultural roots and settler history. For the investment ahead of us, what we'll get is going to be priceless for Hawke's Bay."

Chairman of Te Matau a Maui Voyaging Trust Piripi Smith has shared the vision of the trust's cultural sailing experiences.

"The area of the Waitangi Regional Park is rich in both Maori and European history, and it's a huge shame that few people in the region know this and that many people see the area as a dumping site. The project will see us, as local people of Hawkes Bay, start looking after this area of land. If we look after the land and understand the stories of the area, we have a connection to the land and the environment. The Star Compass will give many people an opportunity to understand how traditional navigation works, from people in waka crews throughout the Pacific who will train to a high level to local schools and the general public who can learn the basics."

Construction will begin in October 2016 and the carpark, celestial compass, formal entrance, educational signage and pathways are expected to be finished by February 2017, including four main pou (carved posts) of the star compass.

Public planting events in winter 2017 will transform the space and a further 28 directional pou will be added to the star compass over the next year to coincide with the solstices and equinoxes.

- For more information, go to YouTube or hbrc.govt.nz and search: #waitangi.