Third Ngai Tuhoe building to open next month
13 March 2018
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The third building project undertaken by Ngai Tuhoe since its 2014 Crown settlement will open its doors next month.
The project, Te Tii, is a hub in Ruatahuna, and according to Tuhoe leader Tamati Kruger, is on target and on budget.
"The Ruatahuna locals tell me they are very happy with proceedings," Kruger said.
Te Tii follows Te Kura Whare in Taneatua, which was recently certified as the first "Living Building" in the world outside the United States. The second was Te Kura Whenua at Waikaremoana, opened in late 2016.
Te Tii will accommodate a general store, the tribal office, cafe, petrol station, motel, radio station, laundry, marketplace, playground, community garden and other outdoor spaces.
Tuhoe is continuing its approach to responsible development by treating wastewater on site, day-lighting adjacent streams to improve the environment for fish, collecting rainwater for use and generating energy by way of solar panels.
He said the wastewater system was under construction and wasn't just for Te Tii.
"All the Ruatahuna village houses will tap into the new wastewater system."
Kruger said the medical centre would be shifted to a house on a hill next to the hub and would be upgraded. A garage to house a fire truck was also being considered.
"There are things that have been attached to the hub but only on the verges, that are now being decided on. There has been a lot of discussion around seeing these things to their fruition."
He added there were commercial elements of the build to still be worked out.
"When we have the opening the cafe and general store will be open but we still need to sit down and work out who will be running the facilities in the long term and how this can benefit the people of Ruatahuna."
Te Tii aims to inject new life into the village and uplift the community.
"This is not just a building, it is a complex that we see will bring about positive change."
Kruger said the opening had been scheduled for April 11, a Wednesday, but it had been decided to hold it on Saturday, April 14 so more people could attend.
"The vibe we are getting is that this [the opening of the building] is the most exciting thing to happen in Ruatahuna for 20 years and that people do not want the celebrations to be understated in any way."
Kruger also said a close eye was being kept on Ngai Tuhoe's Road to Nature trial. Road to Nature involves trialing a tall oil pitch resin to bind gravel roads.
The oil was developed over two years and about $300,000 has been invested in the project to develop an alternative product to bitumen.
Opus Research in Wellington has been involved in helping to trial the resin which is an extract from pine trees.
The New Zealand Transport Agency and both the Whakatane District Council and Wairoa District Council are also working on the project.