$18 million for visitor hubs

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest nearly $18million to create four West Coast visitor experience hubs, creating more than 50 jobs.

The digital story-telling centres will be based in Haast, Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport.

Under-secretary for regional economic development Fletcher Tabuteau made the announcement at the Arahura marae yesterday.

The $17.87million Te Ara Pounamu pathways project will roll out state-of-the-art innovative digital technology to tell West Coast cultural and historical stories.

The four hubs would support the region's tourism operators, boost sustainable employment, and provide upskilling opportunities for local people, Mr Tabuteau said.

In Haast, the Department of Conservation visitor centre will be completely refurbished, and owned and run by the Pounamu Pathways group.

In Hokitika, the Ngai Tahu Pounamu (Waewae) building will be demolished and a new building will use 21st-century technology to promote pounamu.

In Greymouth, Mayor Tania Gibson said the details of the replacement building were still to be negotiated, including its location.

"There will be more of our Maori story, which has been lacking over time."

Construction of the first hub will start in Haast later this year.

All four are expected to be completed by 2023.


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