Northland will celebrate two major Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) milestones this weekend – the official opening of the new Bay of Island Airport terminal on Friday and the completion of the first stage of the Hihiaua Cultural Centre in Whangārei on Saturday.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the opening of both projects, which were identified as priorities in the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan and received early investment from the PGF.
“Today I’ll have the pleasure of officially opening the new world-class terminal building at Bay of Islands Airport. The North now has a fit-for-purpose gateway to the region which matches the beauty of its surrounds,” Shane Jones said.
“The PGF invested $1.75 million towards the new terminal building, which will ensure the airport is well positioned to make the most of expected future growth.
“From 2014 to 2018 annual passenger numbers at the airport have increased by nearly 80 per cent, in both tourism and business traffic. This reflects exactly why the development of the airport was identified by the region as being crucial to supporting economic growth,” Shane Jones said.
Stage one of the Hihiaua Cultural Centre in Whangārei received $1 million from the PGF, and will open to the public on Saturday to coincide with Matāriki celebrations.
“Plans for the Cultural Centre at Hihiaua have been in the pipeline for about a decade, but an injection of capital from the PGF finally allowed construction of the project to get underway. I’m looking forward to celebrating the opening with the community.
“The investment from the PGF has supported the renovation of an existing workshop, the construction of a waka shelter and a launching gantry into the Waiarohia River. These facilities are a boost to the area and offer a unique Māori arts and cultural experience.
“It’s timely that both of these projects have been completed to coincide with Matāriki, the Māori New Year. This is a time to reflect and celebrate new life – and for Northland, the future’s looking bright,” Shane Jones said.