Whangārei hapu Te Parawhau has welcomed a planned $200 million hotel and entertainment centre development in the central city, saying it will provide of opportunities for the whole district.
The Northern Advocate revealed on Saturday that a group of Northland developers, known as Northland Development Corporation, were behind a plan to build the $200m-plus four-star, 130-room hotel and entertainment centre will be built on a prime waterfront Whangārei section.
The hotel, entertainment centre, and apartments will be built on 12,460sq m of waterfront land along Riverside Drive, where boat sheds and light industry are currently located. The popular Hatea Loop walkway will be between the complex and the river.
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The complex is expected to provide more than 200 jobs during construction and about 140-160 once it is opened.
There are also plans to ferry tourists from cruise ships that will berth at Northport from early 2021 to the new hotel precincts and other places frequented by visitors, such as the Hundertwasser Art Centre and Hihiaua peninsula.
Whangārei hapu Te Parawhau, which has mana whenua (territorial rights) over the central city area, said it is fully supportive of the proposal.
''We are excited with its point of difference, outcomes for economic growth and supportive opportunities for Whangārei and its communities, especially for Māori,'' Daniel Hauraki, Te Parawhau kaikōrero said.
''The proposal aligns with Te Parawhau hapū Kaitiaki vision for the future.''
Hauraki said the development could bring many exciting events to Whangārei and provide plenty of opportunities for all. It would provide the hapu with an opportunity to tell its stories and he could see events such as waka trips down the harbour and other cultural activities.
''This idea is something that's absolutely wonderful for us all.''
The developers said the catalyst for the plan was the Hundertwasser Art Centre and Wairau Māori Fine Art Gallery getting underway.
The hotel and entertainment centre project is due to be completed before the art centre opens in late 2020.
The first cruise ship ever to tie up at Marsden Pt has booked to come in January 2021.