In the absence of any infrastructure, the land and the pools themselves simply could not cope with the increased visitor numbers, particularly in the height of summer where whānau monitoring the pools saw nearly 500 people visit them in one day. Whānau were hurting to see their taonga desecrated with urine, toilet paper and sanitary pads and took action.
They took action through the erecting a pou which gave a visual notice to all that visited the pools that they were now closed so the mauri (life essence) can be restored. They also took action by working with Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and the Whangārei District Council. This three way partnership will see Matapouri receive $1,114,000 from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund and an additional $850,000 from the Whangaāei District Council to restore the mauri of Matapouri.
Te Tai Tokerau MP and Minister of Tourism, Kelvin Davis says \”Tourism is a vital part of New Zealand\’s future success and our Government wants to ensure that tourism supports thriving and sustainable regions.”
In what has been a long time coming for the local whānau, they are now delighted that they have support to help deal with the tourism boom they have seen growing year on year.
With only one public wharepaku (toilet) in Matapouri, the the money will go towards building a new toilet facility, improvements to the car park, rubbish bins and work to protect current issues around beach erosion.
Te Whānau ā Rangiwhakaahu uri Aperahama Edwards says “We know that tourism is an opportunity that we have, but there is nothing there to support it at the moment. What we have currently barley accommodates the community that lives out there.\”
“Provision for this type of infrastructure is a Council obligation, and we are pleased the Council have been willing to work with us.”