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New Plymouth Airport flying high in prestigious global awards

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Plymouth’s airport upgrade is in the running for a major international airport award - up against projects including an $8 billion upgrade at New York’s La Guardia airport.

Prix Versailles secretary general Jerome Gouadain announced the six finalists for the award which also features LaGuardia Airport, Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport, Athens International Airport, Kazakhstan’s Hazrat Sultan International Airport and the Philippines’ Clark International Airport.

The World Judges Panel annually select airports and terminals for their innovation, creativity, reflection of local heritage and energy efficiency.

Prix Versailles also honour the universal role the airports play in fostering social, economic and cultural exchanges.

New Plymouth Airport sits on the ancestral land of Taranaki’s Puketapu hapu and members collaborated with the project team, design consultants, Beca, and builders Clelands to ensure their legacy was reflected.

Its design encompasses the entire terminal with Tamarau (male) at the northern end, Rongoueroa (female) at the southern end with a Tuahu panel in the centre with a figurine depicting their child Awa-Nui-A-Rangi.

Hapu member and cultural design lead Rangi Kipa said being named a Prix Versailles finalist was quite different to other awards the airport had received because it took it beyond a parochial view associated with New Zealand awards.

"It gives an international lens to what we have done and speaks to our innovation and culture while highlighting indigenous people," he said.

"This work is our journey in pursuit of social justice in Taranaki. It gives us visibility and part of a significant act of healing. The collaborative engagement allowed our people to work on an infrastructure project that gives us that level of visibility."

Beca project manager Matt Low was delighted New Plymouth Airport was the first in New Zealand to be recognised as a finalist in the global award.

"It’s been a huge collaborative effort by the whole project team and we are honoured and quite humbled," he said.

While the last 18 months had been one of the most difficult in aviation history, New Plymouth Airport chief executive David Scott said there was growing recognition of the terminal and its cultural significance.

"We believe Prix Versailles understand that significance and are prepared to recognise the fact despite our relative size. It’s a fantastic honour" he said.

The winners of the Prix Versailles Airports 2021 will be named at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in November.

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