Hand in hand with valued community

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Port builds on strong links to the people and their coast

The Port of Tauranga Rescue Centre’s sharp, modern profile on Golf Road Mount Maunganui is the latest testament to the Port’s deep commitment to the communities of the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and East Coast.

The centre represents a quantum leap in the facilities committed to surf lifesaving, being the new hub for operations across the greater eastern region of the North Island. The centre is capable of coordinating rescues across the region stretching from Hot Water Beach on Coromandel Peninsula to Tairawhiti-Gisborne.

Port of Tauranga CEO Leonard Sampson says the port is delighted to be the key sponsor for the centre and help support invaluable first responders.

“The centre provides a purpose built, well-equipped base for the many volunteers and staff who do an extraordinary job keeping people safe on the beach and in the water.”

He says the 1300 square metre building is a tangible way for the Port to deepen its connection to the east coast communities. The building is also home to the Mount Maunganui Bridge Club, the local offices of Surf Live Saving NZ, and provides storage space for Omanu Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.

The centre has been described as a “game changer” by Donal Boyle, trustee of the Omanu Beach Charitable Trust.

“It means we can get on with saving lives and supporting our many volunteers without worrying about the ongoing cost of running the centre,” he says.

Meantime, as the 60th anniversary of Tauranga’s National Jazz Festival approaches next year Port of Tauranga has renewed its naming rights sponsorship, ensuring the future for an event that has become iconic and the longest running of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

That commitment to the arts and music also extends to the biennial Tauranga Arts Festival, a popular favourite with locals for the outdoor displays of art, public workshops, exhibits and guest performances by artists from across the world.

Leonard Sampson says the Port’s input to community projects often includes less high profile but equally valued assets.

“That has included the TECT rescue helicopter’s specialist winch, floodlighting for the Bay Oval grounds, and patrol boats for the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat club- they are all vital for the groups that need them, and it is rewarding to be able to play a part in making these assets a reality.”

Port of Tauranga also works with local iwi and hapu, through the Ngā Mātarae Charitable Trust, to invest in projects to improve harbour health.

The Trust, funded by an annual grant from the Port, has so far supported projects such as pipi research and wetland enhancement, and a research vessel for Manaaki Te Awanui.

“We aim to form a long-term mutually beneficial community partnerships to pursue a shared vision of success,” says Leonard Sampson. “By building respectful relationships and lending our support where it’s needed most, we can improve community wellbeing beyond simply job creation and economic growth.

Education has long been a focus, with the port offering tertiary scholarships under the Ngā Mātarae Trust as well as the Turirangi Te Kani Memorial scheme, which has been running for more than 30 years.

Related: Leaving a lighter footprint in the Bay

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