Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


A new visitor experience centre and overhaul and upgrade of dated infrastructure at Punakaiki is one step closer with the call to market this week for proposals from suppliers to complete final designs for the project.

Date:  09 October 2019

The work to redevelop the increasingly congested visitor centre and commercial town centre of Punakaiki is being funded through the Provincial Growth Fund.

Phil Rossiter, Project Manager for the redevelopment work, says that the work to redevelop the iconic site is a significant and exciting opportunity and DOC was expecting a good deal of interest from suppliers.

“Punakaiki is a key anchor for West Coast tourism and has become an iconic short-stop visitor destination on the back of the ‘Pancake Rocks’ and associated blowholes, with 500,000 visitors experiencing the ‘Pancake Rocks’ walkway annually. The investment by the government in this site recognises its importance to the visitor economy of the West Coast.”

The work required includes the final design for the experience centre, pedestrian crossing of the State Highway, traffic management and calming measures, parking, pedestrian and cycle paths and walkways, a pedestrian promenade, toilet facilities and overall landscaping.

The work is necessary because of the growth of visitors at Punakaiki. In 2008, 213,000 people visited the Pancake Rocks. This increased to 511,000 in 2018 placing significant and unsustainable pressures on the dated facilities.

There is a wide range of other interested stakeholders including the local community, Government, industry and conservation groups. The work is being undertaken in partnership with Ngāti Waewae – who will own and manage the new visitor experience centre in their role as mana whenua of this area.

Request for Proposal on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS).

Background information

The work at the site is being led by DOC and Ngāti Waewae and involves a number of agencies and land tenures.

  • Development West Coast – agreement to make a central land parcel available to enable realisation of the most compelling and integrated spatial redevelopment concept
  • New Zealand Transport Agency – collaboration in relation to creation of pedestrian/cycle linkages, State Highway pedestrian crossing and traffic calming treatment
  • Buller District Council – close collaboration in relation to integration of the Greater Punakaiki Master Plan (GPMP) and DPRP and community objectives, and
  • Williams Hotel Group – collaboration in relation to sharing of water supply and water treatment assets for mutual environmental gain and cost-reduction.


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