The Levin Waitārere Beach Surf Life Saving Club has a stunning new facility, named Te Whare Waitā, which was opened last Saturday, an event that was followed by an open day for the public. Sitting on top of the dunes close to the water it has a large room, with balcony and a watchtower with a 180-degree view of the beach and water. The old building had gradually disappeared behind encroaching dunes over the years.
It was opened with a karakia, pōwhiri to welcome guests, and official handing over of the key.
“Te Whare Waitā” translates to “the house of Waitā”. Waitā, one of the stars in the Matariki constellation, is connected with the ocean and food gathered from the seas. You can look upon this star to set intentions of protecting our salt waters and living creatures in it; a fitting name for the facility housing the Waitārere Surf Life Saving Club.
“Our community have advocated for this for more than a decade and to see the aspirations of all involved, especially the surf lifesaving community, come to fruition is truly remarkable. The beautiful new building has one of the best views in Horowhenua and will serve our community for many years to come,” Mayor Bernie Wanden said.
As the home of the surf life saving club, the new facility will support lifesaving patrol and rescue operations and training, and boasts: a patrol tower and watch room, training and beach education rooms for junior surf development and youth beach safety education which are open to school groups, the public and members of the club, kitchen and facilities to accommodate up to 200 people for community related events that closely align with surf lifesaving, changing rooms, toilets and showers, a first aid room, as well as storage facilities for the Surf Life Saving Club’s rescue and training equipment.
Other features include a deck, patio, barbecue area, outside rinse showers and a washdown forecourt. The area around the building was been landscaped with roomy pathways and the carpark is much larger than the previous one. A large recycling container sits near the boundary.
Levin Waitārere Surf Life Saving Club chairman Andrew Parkin said, “The opening of Te Whare Waitā means a lot to our community. There is a lot of excitement about the new facility and the memories which will be created at the new site. We will be able to provide better service to beach goers and look forward to showing current and future surf life saving club members and visitors around.”
Construction began in November 2022 and was completed by council contractor Homestead Construction.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the project,” Mayor Bernie said.
“From the passionate advocates within the community, to our partners at the Levin Waitārere Beach Surf Life Saving Club, representatives of Ngāti Huia ki Matau, Ngāti Huia ki Poroutawhao and Muaūpoko Tribal Authority, and of course our contractor Homestead Construction, there are a number of people who should be proud of how they contributed to bringing this incredible facility to life. I’d also like to acknowledge the leadership of council allocating funding to turn this dream into reality.”
Things are also heating up at the Waitārere Beach carpark with the current site at the end of Waitārere Beach Rd getting an upgrade.
Beach goers will enjoy new public toilet facilities with outdoor showers, a picnic area, a new concrete footpath, carpark resurfacing, and new line markings once the work is completed by March next year.
The Waitārere Beach carpark upgrade is made possible thanks to a $500,000 grant from Horowhenua District Council’s Better Off Funding.
This grant allows the development of additional works that were not included in the original plans and funding for the rebuild of the Waitārere Beach Surf Life Saving Community Facility. These include the upgrades to the parking facility, public toilets and infrastructure, landscaping of the area, the removal of exotic species, and native planting.