Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


New eye-catching displays in the DOC Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre enhance visitors’ awareness of what is special about the area.

Date:  08 September 2010

New eye-catching displays in the Department of Conservation (DOC) Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre that tell of the natural features and history of Nelson Lakes National Park and surrounding areas are aimed at enhancing visitors’ awareness of what is special about the area.

A celebration is being held at the visitor centre this afternoon (Wednesday 8 September) to officially open the new interpretive displays which will also be blessed by a Ngati Apa Ki Te Ra To iwi representative. It is being attended by local residents, Te Tau Ihu iwi, Lake Rotoiti School, DOC staff and other invited guests.

DOC Nelson Lakes Area Manager Alison Rothschild said the new displays replaced interpretive displays that mostly had been in place for more than 25 years, since the Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre first opened in 1984.

“Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre is the main gateway to Nelson Lakes National Park and the surrounding area with around 70,000 people passing through its doors each year. Most visitors as well as getting information for their trip into the park, take time to look around its displays to learn more about the places they are visiting. We hope visitors’ appreciation and enjoyment of the Nelson Lakes area will be enhanced from what they learn about its natural and cultural heritage from the informative new displays.

“Display panels recount stories of the area’s Maori and European past, including as a place for leisure activities such as tramping, boating and skiing. Other panels describe the natural features of the area – its geology, vegetation and wildlife. They also detail how our Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project is restoring a 5000-hectare area, including developing a trapping programme to build the kaka population and re-establishing great spotted kiwi within the area.

“Viewers can experience the park from above through footage of a flyover of the park, and in the lake depths through film of eels. The eels of lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa, renowned for their slow growth in the icy alpine waters, are considered to be the oldest eels in New Zealand with many being more than 100 years old.

“The centrepiece of the new display area is a figure of Rākaihautū with his ko - digging stick - who according to Maori tradition dug out and named South Island lakes, creating first the Nelson lakes of Rotoiti and Rotoroa.

“A bequest from the late Marion Southerwood of Blenheim, who had loved to tramp in Nelson Lakes National Park, helped make possible an upgrade of the visitor centre that has included these new displays. I am very grateful to her and her trustees for enabling this wonderful gift to the national park and its many visitors.

Ms Rothschild also expressed appreciation to those who contributed to the displays’ development, especially Nelson artist and designer Janet Bathgate, who designed the overall display area and panels, and DOC Nelson Lakes Area Office staff members John Wotherspoon and Ingrid McConochie, who researched and assisted in the creation of the displays.

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Trish Grant
DOC Nelson/Marlborough Communications Advisor
+64 3 546 3146

See also:

Nelson Lakes National Park

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