Te Whare Waitā open

New Waitārere Beach Surf Life Saving Community Facility Te Whare Waitā has opened
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The Waitārere Beach coastline is even more stunning, and safe, with the opening of the new Waitārere Beach Surf Life Saving Community Facility Te Whare Waitā.

The community asset was opened with a karakia, pōwhiri to welcome guests, and official handing over of the key. This was followed by a public open day.

‘Te Whare Waitā’ translates to ‘the house of Waitā’. Waitā, one of the stars in the Matariki constellation, is connected with the ocean and food gathered from the seas. You can look upon this star to set intentions of protecting our salt waters and living creatures in it; a fitting name for the facility housing the Waitārere Surf Life Saving Club.

Mayor Bernie Wanden says, “Our community have advocated for this for more than a decade and to see the aspirations of all involved, especially the surf lifesaving community, come to fruition is truly remarkable. The beautiful new building has one of the best views in Horowhenua and will serve our community for many years to come.”

As the home of the Surf Life Saving Club, the new facility will support lifesaving patrol and rescue operations and training, and boasts:

  • A patrol tower and watch room
  • Training and beach education rooms for junior surf development and youth beach safety education which are open to school groups, the public and members of the Club
  • Kitchen and facilities to accommodate up to 200 people for community related events that closely align with surf lifesaving
  • Changing rooms, toilets and showers
  • A First Aid room
  • Storage facilities for the Surf Life Saving Club’s rescue and training equipment.

Other features include a deck, patio, BBQ area, outside rinse showers and a washdown forecourt.

Construction began on this impressive new facility in November 2022 and was completed by Council contractor Homestead Construction. 

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the project,” Mayor Bernie continues. “From the passionate advocates within the community, to our partners at the Waitārere Beach Surf Life Saving Club, representatives of Ngāti Huia ki Matau, Ngāti Huia ki Poroutawhao and Muaūpoko Tribal Authority, and of course our contractor Homestead Construction, there are a number of people who should be proud of how they contributed to bringing this incredible facility to life. I’d also like to acknowledge the leadership of Council allocating funding to turn this dream into reality.”

Waitārere Surf Life Saving Club chairman Andrew Parkin says, “The opening of Te Whare Waitā means a lot to our community. There is a lot of excitement about the new facility and the memories which will be created at the new site. We will be able to provide better service to beach goers and look forward to showing current and future Surf Life Saving Club members and visitors around.”

Things are also heating up at the Waitārere Beach carpark with the current site at the end of Waitārere Beach Road getting an upgrade. 

Beach goers will enjoy new public toilet facilities with outdoor showers, a picnic area, a new concrete footpath, carpark resurfacing, and new line markings once the work is completed by March 2024.

The Waitārere Beach carpark upgrade is made possible thanks to a $500,000 grant from Horowhenua District Council’s Better Off Funding. 

 This grant allows the development of additional works that were not included in the original plans and funding for the rebuild of the Waitārere Beach Surf Life Saving Community Facility. These include the upgrades to the parking facility, public toilets and infrastructure, landscaping of the area, the removal of exotic species, and native planting. 

Better Off Funding Package

Central Government is reforming how Three Waters is managed throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. In July 2021 Central Government announced a comprehensive Three Waters support package, with an initial tranche of $500M made available for councils to apply to. Local Government could use this funding to invest in community wellbeing initiatives that would contribute to their communities and enhance the environment.

In December 2022, Council were notified that their Better Off Funding Application of $4.99M was successful, and a funding agreement was signed in early 2023 for eleven Council projects that fit the criteria.