An upgrade of visitor facilities in the Kerikeri Basin is progressing well. The view from Kemp House across a lawn and planted banks is now more like the early inhabitants of the mission might once have looked out to.
The upgrade is the next stage of the Kerikeri Basin Sustainable Development Plan, a collaborative project between the Department of Conservation (DOC), Far North District Council, Heritage New Zealand, and Ngati Rehia.
The St James car park is newly sealed with retaining walls, kerbing, and toilets in place. The area is still a construction site so not yet operational or accessible to the public. However, plans are for it to be open for Labour Weekend.
Kerikeri Basin upgrade work
Work has now started on the road and wharf area to make these areas more pedestrian friendly. Vehicle access for patrons of the Pear tree Restaurant will be retained during opening hours throughout the road construction phase. During road works of the turnaround area outside the Stone Store there will no turning or parking for large vehicles including buses and campervans. These vehicles will need to use the northern carpark off Landing Rd.
Rolien Elliot, DOC Bay of Islands Service Manager says, "We really encourage basin visitors to use the northern car park off Landing Rd. There are ample parks for cars, campervans and buses, as well as toilets, BBQ facilities, Rewa's Village and a short stroll over the pedestrian bridge to the Stone Store and Mission Station"
A winter work programme, chosen for the least disruption to visitors has presented some challenges. Adverse weather, archaeological authorities to modify and availability of some products have also contributed to the delay. Storm events have damaged some of the new turf and eroded part of the bank in front of the Stone Store.
The next stage of the upgrade will be interpretation for the Kororipo – Kerikeri Basin. Rewa's kainga (village), Hongi Hika's pa and the Mission Station are the physical elements around some of the stories that will be told through a range of interpretive media.
By summer the Kororipo – Kerikeri Basin main construction works will be finished. Improved facilities coupled with a range of experiences will make it a place for everyone to enjoy.
The Kerikeri Basin visitor facilities upgrade is part of the Kororipo – Kerikeri Basin Sustainable Development Plan. Previous work has included removal of the road bridge in the Basin, construction of the Heritage Bypass and installation of a footbridge in the Basin. The area is on the World Heritage nomination list due to its significance as an historic site where the physical fabric of indigenous and colonising settlers still exists.