A new wharf designed to accommodate growing visitor numbers on Rangitoto Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana was formally opened today by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith.
"This new wharf is about better connecting Auckland’s 1.4 million people with the symbolic island of Rangitoto and the adjacent recreation reserve on Motutapu. The city is so fortunate to have these unusual volcanic landscapes, rare wildlife and the world’s largest pohutukawa forest on its doorstep. It is only a 25-minute ferry journey from downtown Auckland and we want to encourage growth in the 100,000 visitors each year so more people get to enjoy these conservation treasures," Dr Smith says.
The new Rangitoto Island wharf
The old existing wooden wharf on the island was built in 1958, and required expensive ongoing maintenance. It is no longer able to accommodate large vessels and increasing visitor numbers. The design of the new wharf will significantly reduce ferry cancellations and re-routings due to bad weather, and will allow passengers to disembark more quickly at peak times thanks to its double landing design. The $6.72 million wharf is a significant investment and costs will be recovered over the lifespan of the wharf by wharf licence fees.
"The new wharf design also includes a waharoa, or customary gateway, which reflects the increased recognition of the cultural dimension of Rangitoto and Motutapu. Today we also mark the passing into law of the Ngā Mana Whanua o Tāmaki Makaurau Redress Act and the co-governance future for the islands. The carving on the wharf was designed and made by Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki carver Reuben Kirkwood. Visitors will now pass under the waharoa as they arrive and help understand the rich Māori heritage of these islands.
Rangitoto Island waharoa
"Auckland can take great pride in the huge volunteer effort that has gone into restoring Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands. These pest-free islands are home to critically endangered takahe and shore plover, and also brown kiwi, kākāriki, bellbird and saddleback. There are very few major cities in the world where people can access so easily such rare species in the wild.
"Walking to the summit of Rangitoto is already one of Auckland’s most popular daytrips, and the Department of Conservation, other agencies and iwi are planning more visitor experiences for the islands. One of these is the multi-day Rangitoto-Motutapu Haerenga walk, part of the Department’s Manaaki Trails. It is a hosted journey for visitors to discover the contrasting landscapes and histories of the two islands in a way that is easy to access, comfortable and fun.
"I encourage more Aucklanders to come and experience Rangitoto and Motutapu with these improved facilities, but also ask people to take care and ensure they do not bring stowaway pests and weeds by respecting the biosecurity rules," Dr Smith concluded.