Multi-million dollar plans for Tiritiri Matangi

A field centre that includes accommodation for visitors is proposed for construction on Tiritiri Matangi Island.

Three building projects, together estimated to cost around $4.5m, are proposed for Tiritiri Matangi Island sanctuary.

The biggest is the construction of a 33-bed field centre, which will provide for researchers/scientists, volunteers and the general public to stay overnight. It will be located in the vicinity of the current Visitor’s Centre and include a kitchen, lounge, a number of two-bedroom units, and two family units. The current bunkhouse sleeps 20 plus five researchers.

A new museum building is also planned, which supporters of Titiriti Matangi chair Brian Chandler says is mainly to house the 6.5m tall Cuvier light. To house the light and keep building heights down, Mr Chandler says it will be necessary to dig a basement down to 2m – the building will be around 5m tall.
The museum will also house other maritime artifacts. The temporary lighthouse museum that’s currently on the island will form the entrance.

In addition, it is proposed to build a replica of the original signal mast, which was around 20m tall and would be placed in its original position in front of the signal tower. The mast was used to communicate with boats coming into the Gulf via flags.

Mr Chandler says that research and maintenance on the island requires a lot of people to stay overnight.

The current bunkhouse is owned by the Department of Conservation (DOC), but the Supporters of Tiri hope to run their own booking system if the new facility is built as well as taking care of the maintenance.

Building in a sanctuary, and on an island, carries with it many additional costs and considerations – including biosecurity and minimising the impact on the environment.

Mr Chandler says that the plan is to manufacture as much as possible off the island in modular form before shipping it over.

Supporters of Tiri have allocated $600,000 of reserves to the project and will appoint a funding manager to begin a campaign to raise money from grants, philanthropic trusts, individuals and businesses.

Paperwork has been submitted to DOC, with a decision pending, and a meeting held with Auckland Council staff in preparation for the resource consent application. “This was very encouraging and they seemed very keen,” Mr Chandler says.

Subject to these processes, it is hoped that work could begin in 2019.


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