Kayak and culture plan a goer

$60 MILLION DREAM: Olympic kayaker Steven Ferguson points out the kayak course to Prime Minister Helen Clark and Counties Manukau Pacific Trust chief executive Richard Jeffery at the unveiling ceremony
$60 MILLION DREAM: Olympic kayaker Steven Ferguson points out the kayak course to Prime Minister Helen Clark and Counties Manukau Pacific Trust chief executive Richard Jeffery at the unveiling ceremony

Plans for a world-class white-water kayak course and Maori cultural experience at Manukau’s Pacific Events Centre got a boost yesterday.

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced the government will invest $400,000 in developing the initiative as she unveiled a model of the project.

"The government funding will be used to complete the concept design of the facility and to develop a comprehensive business plan.

"This is an important step to get the project under way," Miss Clark says.

The $60 million development has been proposed by the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust as stage two of the Pacific Events Centre.

The trust has enlisted Olympic gold medal kayaker Ian Ferguson and Tamaki Heritage Tours to help deliver and operate the facility.

It’s expected to inject more than $9 million a year into the Manukau economy and create up to 68 jobs.

The kayak course, for both international kayakers and recreational users, will be created by pumping water around a concrete concourse to create an artificial river.

The interactive Maori cultural attraction will tell the story of the Maori journey to New Zealand from Polynesia. An outreach gallery will also house touring exhibitions and host an artists-in-residence programme.

Tamaki Heritage Tours’ Mike Tamaki says the story will be told in state-of-the-art "movie sets" complete with holograms of warriors. Visitors will also be able to watch kayakers run their course from a glass dome under the river.

"It will be the first of its kind in the world," Mr Tamaki says.

Manukau Courier