Less than 50 km from Wellington in New Zealand, lies the Kāpiti Coast, home to a spectacular coastline and coastal communities. Just off the coast is Kāpiti Island, internationally recognised as home to some of New Zealand’s most endangered flora and fauna. The Island is one of the oldest nature reserves in New Zealand, first protected more than 100 years ago.
Although visitors are welcome to the coast and Kāpiti Island, it is still one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. With stories of the region’s history, nature and culture to share, the Kāpiti Coast District Council was keen to learn about the best way to attract visitors and foster awareness of Kāpiti’s special values. A Kāpiti Gateway Centre had long been touted as an option to grow awareness of the region, present educational and conservation messages and also provide visitors with a welcoming sense of arrival and understanding of Kāpiti. To assess the feasibility and secure consensus for such a centre, TRC was engaged by the Kāpiti Coast District Council.
Our NZ based team started by facilitating a comprehensive program of community consultation. Together we identified a united vision and purpose for the proposed Kāpiti Gateway Centre, as well as considering and addressing the challenges from the perspective of each of the stakeholders. Our inhouse landscape design expert travelled across from Australia to help assess proposed sites and environmental and cultural contexts. The outcome was a plan that has solid community and stakeholder support, presented with practical steps and commitment of a project governance group to drive the project forward.
The Kāpiti Coast District Council is now working towards realisation of the centre. A facility that will deliver visitor interpretation and education, a base for undertaking biosecurity and conservation management, a hub for commercial island tour operators and facilities for visitors to enhance their enjoyment and awareness of Kāpiti Coast and Island.