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New $12m terminal to boost Tairāwhiti tourism

16 May 2018  By Paul Yandall

The new Gisborne Airport terminal is expected to cost between $10m-$12m. Image: Eastland Group

A new airport terminal for Gisborne will help boost passenger numbers and improve the visitor experience to the region, say tourism leaders.

The development was given the green light yesterday after the airport’s owner, Gisborne District Council, signed a 30-year lease with operator Eastland Group. Eastland’s 15-year lease was to end in 2020.

The council, Eastland, local hapu Ngai Tāwhiri, and Eastland Community Trust would collaborate to design and build the terminal, which is expected to cost up to $12m.

General manager of tourism at Activate Tairāwhiti, Adam Hughes, said the development would be a “huge deal” for the region and was a strong example of community collaboration.

“Including mana whenua has been really important for our region and it sets us up for a very bright future in tourism,” said Hughes.

“It will encourage more visitation and significantly improved experiences. I’ve seen some of the plans and one of the most important parts of that experience is how [the new terminal] is going to reflect the Tairawhiti Navigations story – the story of mana whenua – and it’s quite a stunning collaboration.”

Eastland Community Trust chief executive Gavin Murphy said the development would be a great gateway to region’s tourism offer.

“From an economic development perspective, it will add real value to the region’s First Light brand and our tourism offering. Because of this collaboration, when you stand in this terminal, you will know you are in Tairāwhiti,” said Murphy.

“We look forward to understanding the final scope of the project and exploring the Trust’s role, alongside other partners, in developing an airport that helps cements the region’s tourism aspirations.”

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said the new terminal would play a key role in the $10m regional tourism investment programme, Tairāwhiti Navigations.

“Collaborating together with Eastland Group and tangata whenua to link projects under the Tairāwhiti Navigations programme will ensure visitors and locals are shown a unique point of difference that is distinctly Tairāwhiti – whether they are arriving, leaving or enjoying our many iconic sites across the city.”

Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd said the project was now being scoped with expressions of interest being sought from building companies.

The infrastructure operator had applied for $5m funding for the project from the government’s $1bn per year Provincial Growth Fund.

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