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West Coast, 16 September 2022:  Progress on the Pounamu Pathway continues to gain momentum with news that an important milestone has been reached in the development of the first of the four experiential visitor hubs planned for the Pounamu Pathway.  Te  Ara Pounamu Limited (TAPL) are pleased to report that consent has now been lodged with the Grey District Council for the foundations and earthworks required for the Māwhera hub.

The Pounamu Pathway will bring a world class tourism attraction to the West Coast, delivering an immersive and captivating storytelling experience to domestic and international visitors.  Spread along the West Coast, the four hubs (Greymouth, Westport, Haast and Hokitika) will captivate their audience with an emotive experience that intertwines a modern representation of traditional Māori storytelling with European heritage stories.

Māwhera is the first of the tourism hubs and will be the only one to be designed and built from the ground up.  Situated in the heart of the Greymouth commercial district, on Tainui Street, the hub will have strong connection with local retail and hospitality businesses and is only a short distance from its namesake, the Grey River (Māwhera).

The innovative architectural design concept for the building, led by RM Designs, speaks to the regions cultural history and takes inspiration from the pōkeka (the Māori word meaning rain cape).  Formal building consent for the Māwhera hub is due to be lodged with the Grey District Council by early November.  Tenders for construction are now being sought, with the successful contractor expected to be awarded the work by late October.

The site, under the ownership of Pōkeka Poutini Ngai Tahu Limited (Pōkeka Poutini), a joint venture between Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae and Te Rūnanga O Makaawhio, is currently operating as a commercial carpark.  The carpark is due to close from mid-October to allow for earthworks to commence at the beginning of November.

“As caretakers of the site for the Māwhera hub and partners in the development of the Pounamu Pathway, the consent to formally begin earthworks is significant.  It marks a key turning point in our journey to bring the stories of our local community and the Coast to life. We are excited to see further progress over the coming months and what this will mean for the local businesses involved.” commented Francois Tumahai (Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae) and Paul Madgwick (Chair of Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio).

TAPL Chair, Tony Williams acknowledged the hard work of both the build team, RM Designs, and Pōkeka Poutini in reaching this stage.  “The Pounamu Pathway project is a true collaborative effort, and it is through the hard work of our project team that we are at this stage.  I know we are all excited to be part of this journey to bring this experience to Greymouth”.

Further updates on the progress at the Māwhera hub will be provided over the coming weeks as dates are confirmed for breaking ground at the Tainui St site.

About Te Ara Pounamu Limited

Te Ara Poumanu Limited (TAPL) is a collaboration between Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, Te Rūnanga O Makaawhio and Development West Coast.  TAPL will deliver the Pounamu Pathway project of the four new tourism hubs located in Westport, Greymouth, Haast and Hokitika.