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Porirua is set to become home to New Zealand’s fifth gondola on the back of new investment momentum into the planned Adventure Park that has been four years in the making. Leisure and recreation development company, Select Contracts NZ, has locked in its anchor investment partners for the proposed Adventure Park on Porirua’s Te Rāhui o Rangituhi (Colonial Knob).
"We are thrilled to have secured significant new interest in the Adventure Park project, a sign of investor confidence is returning to the tourism sector," Select Contracts NZ Regional Director, Darron Charity, said. "This is a huge vote of confidence in the project and takes us a significant step closer to installing the gondola that will be the focal point of this development."
Select Contracts NZ has received the necessary consents to build the Adventure Park and, having secured their anchor investors, is re-launching its investment program which was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019.
"There is no doubt that the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, particularly in the tourism industry, has set the project back while potential investors understandably wanted to pause and see the full impact of the worldwide lockdown on our economy and tourism markets. However, we are now seeing signs that confidence is returning. In securing our anchor investors as well as our partnership with Wellington NZ, we have taken a huge step towards achieving the total equity needed to progress with the first phase of development, including the Wellington region’s first gondola," Charity said.
Speaking from the site of the proposed gondola top-station on Monday, Mana MP Barbara Edmonds said the development would be a fantastic asset for the region: "With its stunning views and network of trails, Te Rāhui o Rangituhi is the perfect site for a gondola. You only have to look at the success of the gondola operations in Queenstown and Rotorua to know what this means to the region, and seeing a tourism development of this magnitude forging ahead post-Covid is heartening for all of New Zealand."
Porirua Mayor, Anita Baker, said news of the anchor investment was great news for the Porirua and wider Wellington communities: "To have the country’s fifth gondola installed here in Porirua would be incredibly significant, not just for our city but for the entire Wellington region. Te Rāhui o Rangituhi is a culturally important and beautiful site and I love that this project honours those qualities while enabling more people to enjoy it."
Speaking to the cultural significance of the area, Ngāti Toa CEO, Helmut Modlik, added his support: "Rangituhi is one of the highest peaks in the area and is very significant to Ngāti Toa. We have been engaged in this development for some time and look forward to contributing to its success, including ensuring the cultural significance of the location is upheld and magnified in a mana-enhancing way for all involved. We are excited about the economic benefits the project will bring to our community, and are rapt to see the anchor investors on board to drive the development forward."
As regional partner for the proposed development, WellingtonNZ said today’s announcement was cause for celebration after a challenging year for the tourism industry: "It is exciting to see the investor confidence returning and the demonstrated confidence in what our region has to offer in a post-Covid world. In the future we see the Adventure Park as the number one tourism product in regional Wellington in terms of the world-class offering it will be and the economic gains it will bring. It’s fantastic to see it take this significant step forward," David Perks, General Manager Regional Development, Destination and Attraction, said.
As well as the gondola to a top station restaurant on Te Rāhui o Rangituhi recreation reserve, phase one of development will include scenic, accessible trails for sightseeing, biking and hiking, as well as the installation of what will be New Zealand’s longest dual zipline at 1.4km. Future developments will include an indoor standing surf wave. Public access to the park and all of the trails will be free, with the option of paying to use facilities such as the gondola, bike hire, learn to ride programmes, zipline and the standing surf wave.
"We are currently working hard to find the remaining capital that is needed to move us into the construction phase," Mr Charity said. "This will include a secure portion of the investment being available to ‘Mum and Dad’ investors. We are keen to ensure that the community, which has been so supportive of this project, has the opportunity to be a part of making it happen."
14 Jun 2021