Karamea's Oparara Arches upgrades for a sustainable future


The Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Action Plan 2017 proposed that Tourism West Coast be the lead agency to manage a Feasibility Study and Business Case into assessing the potential of the Oparara Basin.

The Oparara Arches are a magnificent natural attraction that was identified by Tourism West Coast as one of the six iconic places for visitors to the Coast.

The six iconic places identified are Haast, Franz Josef, Hokitika Gorge, Lake Brunner, Punakaiki and the Oparara Arches. Tourism West Coast recognise that people who visit these locations expect to witness and enjoy unspoilt natural features, and preserving the integrity and natural beauty of these special environments is critical when creating visitor infrastructure in these locations.

Tourism West Coast appointed TRC Tourism Consultants who completed a feasibility and business case in July 2018. Considering the sensitive conservation values of the Oparara, they recommended a series of improvements to visitor infrastructure and services to enhance the visitor experience whilst protecting the significant values of the Oparara.

Tourism West Coast consulted with all key stakeholders identified in the TRC report and have put together a proposal that includes some of their recommendations. The proposal is for ‘The development and restoration of the Oparara Basin Delivering a world-class visitor experience whilst preserving the environment for future generations’.

The proposal includes priority actions to support improved safety, security of existing infrastructure, preservation of the natural environment, and an improved visitor experience.

Tourism West Coast CEO Jim Little says, “We are determined to safeguard the future of this natural attraction by upgrading the infrastructure that will help preserve it and to tell the story of the Oparara to enhance the visitor experience in appreciating and understanding the unique history and biodiversity of this special place”. Tourism West Coast is sensitive of the need to ensure a managed growth of visitors from those countries that will seriously appreciate what the Oparara Basin represents.

The recommended improvements include an upgrade of the access road to improve safety (which does not include sealing the road); safety improvements and site preservation work on the Oparara Arch track; a short extension to the Oparara track through the Arch that will improve the visitor experience and safeguard the environment by giving visitors a prescribed track to walk on; a safety rail on the approach to the Moria Gate; an improved electronic security system to safeguard the Honeycomb Cave Special Area; an improved viewing experience at the Mirror Tarn to safeguard the lake edge; the construction of a short loop track from the Mirror Tarn back to the car park to improve visitor safety; and, the telling of the Oparara Story to enhance the visitor experience and understanding of the biodiversity of this special place.

The proposal will be subject to an Assessment of Environmental Effects, which examines the proposed activity and how it will impact the environment in the area. This includes looking at the cultural values, the stability of the landforms, any legislative compliance required, and a full assessment against the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan and the West Coast Conservation Management Strategy policy provisions.

It is acknowledged the management stays with the Department of Conservation and the Oparara Valley Trust remain strong advocates for the protection of the valley and safety of visitors, and the sustainability of the assets.

(10 September 2018)

Business pitches full of innovation and inspiration marked the recent graduation night for the nine participants of DWC’s Co.Starters programme.

Delivered in Westport by BullerREAP and EPIC Westport, Co.Starters is a nine-week programme that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships and tools needed to turn business ideas into action.

DWC trustee Brent Oldham, who has been to all six graduations in Westport, was impressed with the innovative business ideas on display.

“Every time I think we’ve emptied the barrel and exhausted the number of local business ideas, yet each time I keep getting surprised with the number of participants and the quality of business ideas coming through Co.Starters,” he said.

The most recent participants represented a wide range of start-up and developing businesses throughout the Buller district, including an artist, professional supervision services, graphic design, a self-publishing author, bitcoin mining, wedding planning and erosion protection solutions.

Toni O’Keefe took home the ‘best pitch’ award for her presentation on Westlock Concrete Solutions Ltd. Toni, along with her three other business partners, have all been directly affected by coastal erosion, and have developed a unique, interlocking concrete block solution that can be poured on site.

This innovative, locally developed solution to a major issue has a lot of potential, and was reflective of the inspiring ideas on display during the graduation night.

2018 12 19 Co.Starters

West Coast cookie makers, contractors and everyone in between will be celebrated at the prestigious Development West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards later this month.

The awards evening is one of the most significant events on the West Coast calendar and has been run by DWC since 2011. It was set up to ensure the region’s successful businesses - and the value of their contributions to the local economy - were appropriately acknowledged.

The awards will be held at Shantytown on October 26, when the winners in each of the eight main categories will be announced followed by the big reveal of the supreme winner.

DWC chief executive Chris Mackenzie says there are a range of categories to recognise businesses large and small, those who are well established, as well as newer organisations, and across varying sectors.

“This is one of the highlights of the year, and I am always so inspired to hear the stories of the people behind these successful businesses. Their contribution to the West Coast is essential and without their collective successes our region would not be growing,” Mr Mackenzie says.

“I would like to thank the sponsors who support DWC in running these awards. I am cognisant that the sponsorship dollar is hotly contested, and that so many of our key supporters are willing to put their names to this event time after time, shows the depth of commitment and belief there is in our region’s continued growth.”

One of the finalists in the Greymouth Star-sponsored Rising Star category is the West Coast Scenic Waterways Retreat. Owner Cindy Hopper says being in the mix is a fantastic opportunity.

“Being selected as a finalist for the Leading Light Awards is truly both a humbling and exhilarating experience. Should we be honoured enough to win our section, it will belong to so many dedicated volunteers and organisations that have helped and mentored us all the way,” she says.

In the Duncan Cotterill-sponsored Large Enterprise category, contracting firm Fulton Hogan will be battling for top honours. Network Outcomes Contract (NOC) manager Peter Anderson says the recognition is important for each and every staff member.

“Fulton Hogan and the entire West Coast NOC Team are very excited to be selected as a finalist. We view this as not just an acknowledgement of the nine West Coast companies that comprise the NOC, but most importantly recognition of the approximately 90 local team members who work tirelessly to ensure the West Coast State Highway Network is maintained in the best possible condition.”

The guest speaker for the awards is internationally recognised thought-leader and keynote speaker Graham Dockrill. The awards will also feature popular TVNZ news anchor Peter Williams as MC.

The full list of finalists is as follows:

2018 10 03 Congratulations to all the finalists

2018 11 07 Congratulations

Duncan Cotterill Large Enterprise Award Martin and Co Mitre 10 Westport 
Crombie Lockwood Medium Enterprise Award Coastpak Besgrow
NZME Small Enterprise Award AgFest West Coast
Christchurch Airport Tourism and Hospitality Award West Coast Wildlife Centre
Westland Milk Products Not for Profit Award  Tourism West Coast
ACC Workplace Safety Award MBD Contracting Ltd
Department of Conservation Environment Award New World Hokitika
Greymouth Star Rising Star Award West Coast Scenic Waterways Retreat
Development West Coast Supreme Award Coastpak Besgrow





Free tools and information from the government’s website for small business can help make it easier for you to start and run a business.

Eric Janse van Rensburg, from business.govt.nz, recently visited the West Coast as part of the Small Business Roadshow hosted by Development West Coast in Westport.

“I love meeting West Coast small business owners,” he said. “They’re incredibly passionate about their businesses, their communities, and the role they play in both as business owners.”

Whether you’re already in business, or are just starting out, business.govt.nz is a great resource. Free tools on the website include ONECheck, which helps you choose a business name, and the new ‘Choose Business Structure’ tool, which helps you decide the best structure for your business.

You can also use the free business plan templates, employment agreement builder, workplace policy builders, and a wide range of other tools, information and resources to help your business succeed.

Westport-based videographer Daimon Schwalger from Nomad Audio & Video attended the small business roadshow. “business.govt.nz is a great source of information,” he said. “It has some really good resources and tools for starting and running a small business.”

All the information on the website is written jargon free, in plain English.

Terence Amies from T A Painting says the website has “good information to keep small businesses going.” 

“Business.govt.nz is designed to save you time and help you make the best decisions for your business. Every business is different – we know the challenges a business on the West Coast faces aren’t necessarily the same as what businesses in Christchurch face – so right now we’re working to personalise the information we give business owners according to their region and industry,” said Janse van Rensburg. “This is only the beginning. Watch this space.”

Sign-up for the monthly newsletter on business.govt.nz to keep up-to-date with law changes and other news for business from across government.

2018 10 03 Making business easier