“E ngā reo, e ngā mana, ngā mihi maioha atu ki a koutou katoa. Tēna koutou.”
Bay of Plenty residents and visitors alike will be able to enjoy the beauty of Te Rere o Ōmanawa/ Ōmanawa Falls this summer after the newly-enhanced site opens this weekend. Whether you’re looking to learn about the area’s rich culture and history, to take a walk which will challenge your fitness, or to find a quiet space to reflect and meditate, you’ll find it at Ōmanawa Falls.
Over the past three years, Ngāti Hangarau and Tauranga City Council have worked to realise a vision for this spectacular but hazardous site which allows visitors to enjoy safe public access. The completed project sees the introduction of a new walking track, lookout platforms, ecological, cultural and historic education panels, a car park, and cliff-face safety improvements.
Ngāti Hangarau and Tauranga City Council invite visitors to find tranquility amidst nature’s beauty and discover the area’s cultural significance. One way visitors can do this is by viewing the pou designed and carved by Ngāti Hangarau kaiwhakairo (carver) Pete Smith, which showcase Māori customs and practices and how these apply to Ōmanawa Falls.
Visitors are asked to embrace culture, respect nature and follow guidelines provided by Ngāti Hangarau and Tauranga City Council while onsite. There is no public access to the water’s edge. Swimming is not permitted for safety and cultural reasons and community members are asked to respect that requirement and have a safe summer.
Ngāti Hangarau Hapū Trust Chair Koro Nicholas says there’s unique and special character at Ōmanawa Falls that guests will be able to connect with.
“For many generations, our people have been using these falls as a place to connect with our land, to connect with our ecosystems, to connect with our environment.”
Koro invites guests to take time to read the onsite signage, which will help them to get the most out of their visit.
“If you’re coming with the premise of being one with this beautiful place, we think you’ll find your experience at Ōmanawa Falls will be all the more richer.”
Along with learning about the cultural significance of the area, visitors will also be able to learn about the falls’ hydro-generation history and its role in delivering power to light Tauranga’s first electric streetlamps over 100 years ago.
Tauranga City Council Commissioner Chair Anne Tolley says Ōmanawa Falls has a rich and fascinating history.
“The Ōmanawa Falls Power Station was the first underground, hydro-generating power station in the entire southern hemisphere. Visitors will be able to learn all about this from our information panels, while taking in the miraculous views.”
With works now complete, Ōmanawa Falls is open in time for the summer tourism season and Tourism Bay of Plenty General Manager Oscar Nathan says the recently-developed site has much to offer locals and domestic and international visitors.
“Waterfalls and water holes are always a natural drawcard. They represent beauty and power, serenity and turbulence, depending on the weather and the mood of the setting on any given day. Ōmanawa Falls is a sacred place that was gaining international attention before the area had to close due to serious safety issues.
“We’re excited that this site has now reopened – the new infrastructure provides visitors with a far more meaningful way to discover the unique history and the cultural and ecological significance of these falls,” he says.
Te Rere o Ōmanawa/ Ōmanawa Falls
8am – 7.30pm in summer (from when daylight saving starts)
8am – 5.30pm in winter (from when daylight saving ends)
For more information: https://bit.ly/47yOrq4