The project has moved swiftly as just over one year ago central government’s Provincial Growth Fund committed $10 million in funding for the Sky Waka build. This, in conjunction with the Tuwharetoa Trust who contributed $9.5 million to the $25 million project, allowed this major infrastructure initiative to go ahead.
Under Secretary for Regional Economic DevelopmentFletcher Tabuteau was in attendance for the grand opening on the mountain yesterday. While there, Mr Tabuteau announced Provincial Growth Funding grants totaling $550,000 to support the Ruapehu District Council to undergo long-term planning to foster sustainable tourism growth.
“These opportunities are very exciting, and we welcome Mr Tabuteau’s announcement. Tourism in Ruapehu is a strategic priority for Accelerate25 and we commend the work by central government, Ruapehu district and its communities in further developing these particular projects.”
It’s anticipated this project will create a further 150 jobs, and boost tourism across the central North Island by 500,000 people annually by 2025 and forecast to double regional tourism income to $400 million a year by 2028.
Ruapehu District Mayor Don Cameron can already see the economic benefits of the Sky Waka coming to fruition.
“The Whakapapa Sky Waka Gondola is a success story and already delivering on its promise of increasing visitor numbers and with it greater prospects for economic growth,” says Mayor Cameron.
He is also thankful for the opportunities the new Provincial Growth Funding announcements will provide.
“This new funding will help us to unlock further regional tourism opportunities as identified in the Visitor Development and Accelerate25 action plans while ensuring we do so in a planned way that protects our precious environmental and cultural taonga.”