Wakatu Quay, Kaikōura
A connected mixed-use area, accessible for all, where its vibrancy and distinct sense of place, secure it as an enduring cultural, tourism and community asset for now and into the future.
The new development is a bold expression of a modern marine environment and will revamp the area once occupied by old commercial fishing buildings which suffered damage in the 2016 earthquake
Wakatu Quay is the last place in Kaikōura to lose the setting sun. The new facility will become a beacon of contemporary design and community connectedness, embodying its position on the edge of the land and seascape back to Kaikōura Village. It will become an exciting destination and a unique drawcard for both the Kaikōura community and visitors from further afield; a highly flexible space enabling a broad range of activity and engagement with an enduring and unique, culturally and commercially sensitive outcome.
“The buildings reflect and take direct influence from their rugged context, its geological uplift and heavily textured limestone that can be seen on the Peninsula and the immediate area surrounding the quay itself,” says project principal Jonathan Coote.
The project team engaged with the documented history of Kaikōura, and with the local mana whenua to understand the unique stories, values and cultural narratives that are imbedded within the history of the site and its context. This engagement began at the outset of the concept design when the design team was welcomed on to Takahanga Marae, and introduced to hapū members and the significant features and stories of the local landscape. Regular meetings following were held with mana whenua representative Maurice Manawatu, alongside artist Riki Manual.
The concept design links the Kaikōura township to Wakatu Quay with a broader urban view of ‘site’. It will activate the senses and enable a close connection with the sky, the mountains and the sea (the life blood of Kaikōura) - a building that embraces and responds to its severe environment.
A complimentary lighting strategy has been devised to support the scheme that recognises the dark skies cloaking Kaikōura. The value is two-fold for the local community and its ecology, while also providing activation opportunities for the wharf space into the evening. The design intent is to keep light spill low and reduce any adverse effects on the dark skies and the surrounding residential area.