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Enhanced traffic controls will change the way many families make their pilgrimage to the Treaty Grounds next Waitangi Day. The Waitangi Day Governance Group has announced that parking in the Treaty Grounds will be permitted only in supervised areas and only until 11am on 6th February. After that, all traffic will be diverted to park-n-ride facilities at Haruru Falls.
More structured traffic control over the last three Waitangi Days has increased safety, says Inspector Chris Scahill, who is in charge of police operations on the day. “This is a continuation of those improvements. With the cooperation of motorists there will be fewer delays for everyone and a safer environment for families on foot.”
Inspector Scahill is asking the public to support the initiative, and to plan an alternative route when it comes to travelling to the Treaty Grounds on Waitangi Day. “It will help if people think through their travel plans before the day and make themselves familiar with the options.”
Waitangi National Trust CEO Jeanette Richardson agrees that safety for all visitors is paramount and will be enhanced by having fewer vehicles in the grounds. “The park-n-ride service was used last Waitangi Day by around 10,000 people, and shuttle buses will again be free-of-charge to encourage use of the service. We will also have security staff monitoring the carpark and assisting people as has been the case in the past.”
As part of the overall plan, the Fullers Great Sights Bay Belle scheduled ferry will loop via Waitangi wharf on its regular services between Paihia and Russell, at no extra charge to the standard fare. This will help especially those staying at the two holiday townships. The first sailing to call into Waitangi will depart Paihia at 8.30am, with the final departure from the Waitangi jetty at 5.30pm enroute to Russell. The stop-over is made only by the Russell-bound ferry.
The expectation of a peaceful, family day with top-flight entertainment and recreation is now firmly established, says Jeanette Richardson. “The creation of an even more pedestrian-friendly environment will add to the enjoyment of the day.”
Updates to schedules will be posted regularly to www.waitangi.net.nz