Te Rerenga Wairua is a wahi tapu, a sacred site, and is regarded by Maori as one of the most culturally significant places in Aotearoa. The New Zealand Government considers it one of the top four historical sites in the country.
The Ngati Kuri and Te Aupouri peoples are the acknowledged kaitiaki, or guardians, for Te Rerenga Wairua. They have the cultural responsibility to ensure the area is protected from inappropriate developments and environmental degradation, and that the site is respected by visitors. The site’s historic lighthouse has also become a visual icon for both Northland and New Zealand.
Since 2000, a culturally appropriate restoration and redevelopment of the site has been under way, in a partnership of related businesses, iwi, the Department of Conservation and Council. Safeguarding the spiritual and historical integrity of the site and its internationally unique ecology is of the utmost importance.
Work completed to date has included visitor research, two feasibility studies, site planning, community consultation, visitor facility concept development and the formation of a project control group (PCG). Visitor Solutions was also a member of the project’s project control group.
Stage one of the project (car park, tracks and environmental restoration) won the Master Builders Association National Tourism and Leisure Gold award, and the Best in Category award in 2009.