$4m visitor centre consent sought

A $4 million visitor centre will appear as a thin sliver on the curves of Te Mata Peak.

The proposed circular centre designed by Wellington architect Chris Kelly will offer a panoramic view across Hawke's Bay.

Te Mata Peak Trust has just lodged a resource consent application with Hastings District Council to build a centre off the lower car park, with a ramp walkway and viewing platform. Submissions for the publicly notified consent open in mid-January.

The region's three councils have given the project financial backing. Hastings would contribute $1.1m, Hawke's Bay Regional Council $500,000 and Napier City Council $250,000.

Trust chairman Bruno Chambers said the centre would become a destination for tour buses, be accessible to schools and provide a cafe for the 200,000-plus visitors the peak attracted each year.

Visitors to the free centre will hear the history of Te Mata and learn about its geological character and flora and fauna. Construction will begin when the project is fully funded.

Also, Hawke's Bay fundraising consultancy Giblin Group has secured $400,000 from private philanthropists and charitable trusts, bringing the total of funds raised so far to more than $2m.

Te Mata Peak is managed and maintained by a voluntary trust and a paid part-time caretaker is assisted by a team of about 20 volunteers.

The Dominion Post