Architectural image showing a birds-eye view of the planned Dolomite Point Experience Centre
Image: DOC

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


Ngāti Waewae will lead a ceremony in Punakaiki tomorrow morning to mark the start of the main construction work on the new Experience Centre.

Date:  27 May 2022

The building is the anchor piece of the Dolomite Point Redevelopment Project, the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) largest stand-alone capital project.

Funding for the $26 million project is principally through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) administered by Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Trade and Export Growth (Māori Trade) Rino Tirikatene, who is the MP for Te Tai Tonga, will represent the Government at the event.

DOC Project Manager Phil Rossiter says it’s an exciting milestone for the project.

"It's fantastic to see this happening after 18 months of intensive planning, design development and stakeholder consultation.”

Naylor Love Canterbury has been contracted to lead construction activity.

“There’s a significant West Coast presence among sub-contractors and materials supply,” says Phil Rossiter.

The biggest piece of plant (machinery) on site will be a 100-tonne Grove Manitowoc crane which can lift 26.1 t in weight and has 9 m extension legs.

The contractors will wrap the construction site with protection canopies in August and September to prevent any wild weather from holding up the works.

Phil Rossiter says one of the most eye-catching aspects of the Experience Centre will be a green roof.

“Conservation Volunteers NZ have gathered seeds and seedlings of about a dozen suitable native species from Dolomite Point and the wider Punakaiki area. They’re being raised at their nursery on the Barrytown Flats.”

Over 11,000 plants will be needed for the roof which is designed to be self-sustaining after an initial period of care and maintenance.

The project held a celebratory event for the local community, including businesses, last weekend.

Background information

Punakaiki is the gateway to the Paparoa National Park. It is a key anchor for West Coast tourism.

In 2008, 213,000 people visited the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. This increased to 511,000 in 2018, placing significant and unsustainable pressures on the dated facilities.

The investment by the government in this site recognises its importance to the West Coast visitor economy.

A wide range of stakeholders have been involved in the planning including the local community, government, industry and conservation groups.

The Dolomite Point Redevelopment Project has achieved two milestones already: a 4.2 km-long pedestrian and cycle path traversing the length of Punakaiki and the redevelopment of the northern carpark.

The second stage of works will include a visitor exhibition space connected to the Experience Centre, redevelopment of the southern carpark, a short nature walk and lookout at the rear of the site, additional pathways and burying of overhead power cables.


For media enquiries contact:


Back to top