By Thomas Airey
The celestial navigator behind the Ātea a Rangi Star Compass says a newly funded public toilet block at Waitangi Regional Park is a "gamechanger" for the site.
In the latest Tourism Infrastructure Funding round, the Government set aside $400,000 for toilets, as well as power and running water to the site.
Piripi Smith said the new facilities will mean they will be more able to look after visitors, and therefore scale up a lot of their events.
"It's a bit of a gamechanger to be honest," he said.
"We do a number of events throughout the year, and we're always having to get in portaloos, generators. It's just going to make things a lot easier."
Smith said over the last four years, he has had to use a trailer loaded with 20-litre buckets of pre-filled water from his home down the road in Clive to get water to the site.
"It just helps so much if you've actually got the infrastructure in place," he said.
Smith said over 4,500 people came to Ātea a Rangi over the five days of Matariki celebrations this year, which is three times more than usual.
"What's awesome about it is the Government is being involved and supporting Mātauranga Māori," he said.
The new facilities, which should be ready in time for Matariki 2023, were always part of the 'Phase Two' plans envisioned for Ātea a Rangi.
Other projects to come include adding more carved pou to mark an urupa (burial site) as a tapu area, and once power is connected, more lighting installations for security and safety.
Tourism Infrastructure Fund Round 6 recipients in Hawke's Bay:
Central Hawkes Bay District Council
· $372,400 for Rongomaraeroa Marae wastewater system connection
· $107,900 for upgrades to Pourerere Beach Reserve car parking and beach access, water supply, viewing platform and signage
· $63,507 for a dump station at Takapa
· $194,250 for enhancements to toilets and signage at Otaia/Lindsay Bush Reserve carpark
Hawkes Bay Regional Council
· $400,000 for public toilets at star compass site at Waitangi Regional Park
Napier City Council
· $700,000 for visitor shelter and facilities at the Iron Pot Waka Hub
Wairoa District Council
· $106,080 for upgrade of Oraka public toilet facilities
· $106,080 for upgrade of Nūhaka public toilet facilities
· $498,000 for upgrade of Wairoa Camping ground toilet facilities
· $66,000 for installation of Big Belly Bins