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Walkway celebration marks completion of Raglan Wharf projects

The greatly anticipated Whaaingaroa / Raglan Wharf Western Walkway is now open to the public. 

The walkway was officially opened today, Friday 3 May, in a Karakia ceremony led Kaumatua Atutahi Riki, of Ngaati Maahanga and Tainui, alongside Mayor Jacqui Church and other dignitaries celebrating the milestone.

And a celebration it was, for those were the first words spoken by Waikato District Mayor Jacqui Church.

“YAY!!.... it’s a celebration of so many parts coming together, the synergy of us all collectively, and what more can we celebrate on this lovely Whaaingaroa day than this,” she said.

Waikato District Council’s General Manager of Service Delivery Megan May said today marked the end of a project a long time in the making.

“While we are blessing the last portion, we need to acknowledge the project in its entirety.  I still have memories of central government approaching us in 2019 with the suggestion of a wharf project”.

“We couldn’t have done it without the funding we received from Kaanoa Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit, and this was further supported by the Department of Internal Affairs with additional money from the Better Off Fund, as well as our partnerships with Raglan Community Board and our Iwi partners - Ngaati Maahanga, Ngaati Hourua, Tainui o Tainui, Ngaati Tahinga and Ngaati Tamainupō.

Raglan Community Board chair Dennis Amoore said when you looked around it was amazing what you could do when you get a few people in a room who are positive and enthusiastic about making a difference. “We can achieve a lot.”

Councillor Lisa Thomson acknowledged local Simon Te Wheoro for his artwork ‘Pā Kahawai’ at the entrance. “The sculpture is a lure for manuhiri and for locals alike to come here,” she said. 

The Western Walkway is the final piece of work completing the redevelopment of the Whaaingaroa Wharf and wider harbour, which started in August 2021.

There were four key projects identified by the community, which included the Pontoon Design and Build, The Whaaingaroa Wharf Structural Repair project, Whaaingaroa Harbour Strategy, and the Whaaingaroa Wharf Walkways project. The aim of the walkways project was to create a pedestrian-friendly precinct that is safer and more accessible for all ages and abilities.

The Western Walkway features a new seawall, tidal steps and terraces to improve access to water at the northern end, and a kayak ramp at the southern end where the walkway connects with the existing footpath at the end of Wallis Street. 

Other significant features also include cultural and historical signboards, the ‘Pā Kahawai’ entrance sculpture, tree pits and planting and a raised pedestrian crossing at the entrance.

While the walkway is open and the new area ready for the public, the tidal stairs are still undergoing some finishing works before the fencing can be removed, this is imminent.

More information about these projects is available here.