Mapua’s new pontoon wharf was christened recently in a colourful ceremony that also paid tribute to Hamish the heron.
The 20m aluminium pontoon, with a 15m gangway, sits across the front edge of the wharf for pleasure craft to tie up to as they load/unload. The old pontoon was damaged beyond repair when a yacht hit it in 2010.
Specialist Auckland firm Anchorage Pontoons Ltd fabricated the new structure as a kitset. It was assembled onsite “like a Meccano set,” says Selwyn Steedman, Tasman District Council Transportation Network Engineer.
The entire project cost about $150,000, and was funded by the Council. While the barge was on-site, the Council took the opportunity to replace foreshore poles for new navigation beacons.
A pole at the end of the pontoon sports a statue of Hamish, the rare kotuku who became a much-loved visitor as he spent winters at Mapua over more than two decades. He failed to show up last year. The statue was made by well-known local sculptor Arthur Hawke.
He told the crowd at the opening that Hamish “appears to have fallen off his perch”.
About 350 people gathered for the ceremony, which included a model boat race, nautical dress, cannon fire and Tasman Sea Scouts forming a guard of honour for dignitaries, who included Tasman Deputy Mayor Tim King. Mapua Boat club president Annette Walker said the big turnout, in miserable weather, was “a huge vote of support for the wharf”.
The crowd heard that the derelict wharf was threatened with demolition 25 years ago until the boat club stepped up as saviour. The pontoon was added in 1998.