New work to enhance West Coast environment

 New work to enhance West Coast environment

Punakaiki is set to benefit from two projects designed to enhance its status as one of New
Zealand’s most unique environments, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.
“As part of our Jobs for Nature programme the unique natural assets of Punakaiki and the
edges of the Paparoa National Park will be restored through a project expected to employ up to
13 people per year for four years.
“This two-phase Punakaiki restoration project involves propagation, planting, and maintenance
of an estimated 478,000 native trees over 153 ha on sites surrounded by and adjacent to the
Paparoa National Park and Te Ara Tāiko Nature Reserve
The $3.6 million project is being led by Conservation Volunteers New Zealand with support from
the Department of Conservation.
“The work will also conserve the unique and nationally significant Punungairo/Bullock Creek
polje,” Kiri Allan said.
A polje is a large, flat-floored depression in a karst landscape. Bullock Creek is New Zealand’s
only example, surrounded by tall cliffs and dense beech and kahikatea forest.
The other project will see the construction of a new shared walking and cycling path, linking a
number of key sites in one of the West Coast’s most popular regions.
The 4.2km path is part of the broader Dolomite Point Redevelopment Project which includes
building a new visitor experience and exhibition centre to replace the existing DOC facility. It will
connect the southern end of town from the Punakaiki River, to Hartmount Place at the northern
end of town.
The work is being funded through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) which has contributed $1.5
million toward the $1.68 million needed to build the path, with the balance funded through the
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency Walking and Cycling programme.
“This is such a special place to slow down and connect with the natural environment,” Kiri Allan
said. “With the new path linking a number of key sites throughout Punakaiki, people will be able
to leave their cars and enjoy a day out in nature.

“It will also benefit local residents who have had to contend with highway traffic, with roadside
verges being the means of getting around on foot. We expect the path will make Punakaiki a
whole lot safer and enjoyable for both pedestrians and cyclists.”
The pathway will link key visitor and recreation sites such as the Paparoa Track, the Pancake
Rocks, the main town centre, Pororari River, Bullock Creek, and the Truman Track. Work on the
path has started, with Waka Kotahi – NZ Transport Agency contractors marking the alignment
and forming the route. It is expected the path will be completed by mid-2021.
Work on plans for a new visitor experience and exhibition centre to replace the aging DOC
visitor centre is well advanced. Artist impressions of the new centre released were earlier this
Media contact: Julie Jacobson 021 806 085
Background information
Punakaiki is a key anchor for West Coast tourism and has become an iconic and popular short-
stop visitor destination on the back of the ‘Pancake Rocks’ and associated blowholes. The
investment by the Government in this site recognises its importance to West Coast visitor
The work required includes the final design for the Experience Centre, pedestrian crossing,
traffic management and calming measures, parking, pedestrian and cycle paths and walkways,
a pedestrian promenade, toilet facilities and overall landscaping.
In 2008, 213,000 people visited the Pancake Rocks. This increased to 511,000 in 2018, placing
significant and unsustainable pressures on the dated facilities.
The work, which involves a number of agencies and land tenures, is being being led by DOC
and Ngāti Waewae who will own and manage the new visitor Experience Centre in their role as
mana whenua of this area.

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