It’s time to strut the boardwalk

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Finishing touches . . . The Riverview Terraces boardwalk will be officially opened at the Kaiapoi River Carnival.

By RACHEL MACDONALD

A raft of design elements drawn together in a major riverside project in Kaiapoi will have its official moment in the limelight this weekend.

The Kaiapoi Riverside Terraces and Boardwalk will officially open at noon tomorrow, Saturday, February 16, as part of the town’s River Carnival and Boat Show.

They have been designed by Waimakariri District Council regeneration team landscape architect Kevin Dwyer to add valuable public space to the riverbank in front of the new Jedd Pearce retail development.

The development starts at Williams Street and runs along the river’s edge to link with the Riverbank Walkway.

Its design and construction had to be co-ordinated with several aligned projects, including the building of the new river wall, the installation of pontoon piles, Environment Canterbury’s repair and reconstruction of the stopbank, and the development of the business block that serves as an immediate backdrop.

“The project was part of the original Kaiapoi Marine Precinct Masterplan,” Kevin explains.

“I was brought on board to design it and get it built.

“It wasn’t a detailed brief, so there was lots of space to get creative with theme and function.”

The contemporary look of the terraces and boardwalk reflects the design of the new Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre and library steps on the other side of the river, and the modern aesthetic of the Jedd Pearce complex, he says.

“And they also follow the line of the building behind, rather than running parallel to the river. We’ve had feedback that people thought we just got the angle wrong, but this way we end up with an even boardwalk along the top of the stopbank and the space to cantilever the lower terrace out along the same line over the river to give access to the pontoons.”

There is also a good reason the terraces overshoot the eastern boundary of the shops behind it.

“The reason it ends there, seemingly sticking out on its own for those last metres, is that the architect’s concept plans for Jedd’s building includes an as-yet-unbuilt third stage, so we ran the terraces out that far to take this into account.”

Several locally inspired design elements are an intergral part of the finished result, too. Some of these reflect the region’s Maori history, thanks to the involvement of Matapopore – the design arm of Ngai Tahu – while others draw on the colonial character of the town.

Matapopore advised on a series of public art installations that aim to re-establish a sense of place in Kaiapoi.

It gifted the statement of identity, place and belonging – or pepeha – that is etched into the greywacke terrace front, which reads “I ahu mai oku ture i toku tupuna ko Tuahuriri”. This translates as: “My laws stem from my ancestor, Tuahuriri.”

It also provided the taniko patterns on the front of the planters; the whariki, or welcoming mat, ramp paving at the Williams St and eastern ends; and the Waimakariri boulder-like kohatu touch stones that open and close the terraces.

“Then there are also references to Kaiapoi’s maritime and trading post past,” Kevin says.

“The handrails and lights on the deck are reminiscent of a ship’s fittings, while the seats look like stacks of sawn planks waiting to be shipped, and the size of the decking material is a nod at wharf timbers.”

The You, Me, We, Us poem on the steps of the first terrace was the result of a post-quake community poetry competition.

And, finally, native rushes have been incorporated into the planting, in keeping with the important riverside environment.