Historic Whitianga wharf to be restored

Last updated 14:16 11/04/2014
Ferry Landing
Peter Drury/Fairfax NZ

Heritage site: Blocks from the 1838 stone wharf at Ferry Landing, seen behind the ferry, are to be recovered from the seabed and restored to their original position.

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Plans are afoot to restore the historic Whitianga Ferry Landing wharf, one of the oldest working stone wharves in the Southern Hemisphere.

A Thames Coromandel District Council and community partnership plans to restore the existing stone wharf, which dates back to 1838, by recovering old stone blocks from the sea floor beside the wharf.

These blocks will be used to rebuild the original stone steps and sections of a missing wall.

Divers have sighted the stones two to four metres underwater.

Old concrete pump bases will be removed and bollards will be installed. A new derrick will be built and paving undertaken, along with landscaping.

The project is a partnership between the council, the Historic Places Trust, iwi, the Institute of Engineers and the Mercury Bay community.

The wharf is classified as a grade one structure by Historic Places Trust and is in need of restoration.

The project will raise the historical profile of Mercury Bay during the kauri logging period.

It is also culturally significant to Mercury Bay iwi Ngati Hei, whose ancestors helped build the wharf.

"Restoring the Ferry Landing wharf is part of our focus on improving and maintaining our coastal and harbour areas," the council's area manager Sam Marshall said.

"Improving infrastructure like boat ramps, wharves and coastal protection work gives people more reasons to come and want to visit," he said.

Mercury Bay Community Board chairman Paul Kelly said a committed group had come together as a working group.

"These are people who are passionate about preserving and showcasing our heritage.

"We welcome any help that people may want to offer in terms of support for this project," Kelly said.

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- Waikato

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