Waikato-Tainui has marked the official launch of its biggest commercial development, a major new inland port at Ruakura near Hamilton, with the turning of the sod by Kiingi Tuheitia. Te Ara Taura chair Raahui Papa says it will become New Zealand's largest integrated commercial and lifestyle development on a total of 480 hectares over the next few decades.
The turning of the soil by King Tuheitia signals the start of land redevelopment for the country's largest green-field port, commercial and lifestyle development of its kind.
Papa says, “The significance of today is the same as the turning of the sod at Te Rapa by Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu. Now it has extended to this occasion that marks the development work of Waikato-Tainui, the Kiingitanga and the community of Hamilton.”
The new inland port will link the golden triangle of Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton with the new Waikato Expressway to improve and meet the increased freight needs in the upper North Island. It was endorsed in Kiingi Tuheitia's speech delivered by his private secretary.
The King’s private secretary Te Rangihīroa Whakaruru says, “It is my strong belief that Ruakura will be part of the offering that will future proof our tribe and our society.”
The Ruakura land was part of Waikato-Tainui's '95 Raupatu Settlement claim and was developed by the tribe's commercial arm, Tainui Group Holdings (TGH), nearly 10 years ago.
It's a unique development as it was earmarked for development. The $170mil settlement was not only financial but also included land redress. The land was returned to us as part of our Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Settlement claim.
In a few weeks, stage one of the build will get underway where crushed rocks will be laid level to the railroad track in the seven-hectare area, in what will become the container yard.
TGH is still deciding on Requests for Proposals (RFP) for port operators, which were sought from Australasia, the Middle East and Europe and expect to confirm in June.