Pioneer site revamped

Janna Sherman

The very genesis of Hokitika is set for a revamp.
Construction of a heritage-style picket-fenced garden and seating area is under way at the corner of Revell Street and Gibson Quay, on the exact spot where pioneer storekeepers Hudson and Price opened their store 149 years ago, in October 1864. Two months later, government agent Bill Revell laid out the first two streets, Revell Street and Gibson Quay.
The remaining 70 square metre land parcel, which includes a Historic Places Trust memorial stone, was vested as a historic reserve two years ago by the Westland District Council.
In conjunction with the council, the Hokitika Lions Club has volunteered to improve the site in the lead up to the 150th anniversary celebrations, in December.
A decorative fence, new gardens and a park bench are included in the plan.
Lions president and councillor Jim Butzbach said the development was designed to be low profile, while highlighting the memorial.
“It is also designed to be in continuity with the Custom House facade,” Mr Butzbach said.
“A park bench in the colours and style of the current Pioneer Statue seats will also be installed, further lending continuity to the heritage areas,” he said.
An existing concrete wall, damaged by wind blown trees that were removed before winter, will also be repaired.
The Hudson and Price site upgrade is one of a number of Hokitika River mouth projects to be carried out for the sesquicentennial. The area will host some of the main events over the weekend of December 18, including a re-enactment of the pioneer river crossing.