Waihi Gold Discovery Centre Gets Green Light
Press Release 31 May 2013
‘Waihi – New Zealand’s Heart of Gold’ has both a rich history and modern-day connection with gold mining and is the perfect location for the Gold Discovery Centre. Waihi’s strategic location, within two hours’ drive of the country’s largest international airport, fastest growing city and about 50% of New Zealand’s population, enables the project to maximise opportunities with both international and domestic markets.
This project will be a key driver in transforming Waihi, Hauraki and the Southern Coromandel region into a significant visitor destination. It will generate positive economic growth for the town of Waihi and the wider region through extra visitor spend.
The “Waihi Gold Quest” project as it now stands has been developed as a result of taking a fresh look to find the most realistic model for delivering the concept’s original core objectives within the current economic environment. The key change with this model is that it involves the re-development of an existing building in upper Seddon Street to house the “Hub” visitor experience (iSITE and Gold Discovery Centre) rather than creating a new building.
Under the new proposal the space available for the visitor experience is similar to the previous design meaning most of the components of the earlier proposal will transfer into the new space, thus retaining its original appeal and marketability.
Mark Samson, Acting Chief Executive for the Vision Waihi Trust congratulated the project partners for their on-going commitment the project. “Waihi is rapidly becoming a very popular tourism destination and I’m thrilled to see funding committed so the project can progress. More detailed design and planning can now begin, and our goal is to be up and running around mid-2014”.
“The Gold Discovery Centre will be a viable stand-alone business; it will strengthen existing local businesses and act as a catalyst for new tourism ventures. It will really put Waihi on the tourism map. In combination with the success of the Hauraki Rail Trail and its new Waihi connection, the next few years will be very exciting for Waihi and the region”.
Mike Hayden, Chairperson of the Waihi Community Vision (WCV) is very excited by the news. The concept of a gold discovery centre was born through the WCV in 2004 and has gone through many variations. He said “it will be a great asset for Waihi and become a key project in building a sustainable future for our community”.