New Plymouth Airport in New Zealand has celebrated the opening of its new NZ$28.7m (US$16.6m) terminal.
The airport, in the Taranaki region of New Zealand’s North Island, has transformed its original 1960s terminal into a modern regional gateway.
The first passengers were welcomed to the new terminal on Tuesday, March 17, despite the postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic of plans for New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern to attend an official opening.
At 1,430m2 (15,390ft2), the original terminal was built in 1967 to cater for approximately 50,000 passengers per year, although annual passenger numbers today stand at more than 400,000. The new 4,092m2 (44,045ft2) terminal has been designed to accommodate a predicted increase in passenger numbers. Costs will be met by airline landing charges, tenant rents and car parking fees.
The new building is distinctive in the degree to which it celebrates the culture of the local Puketapu community, members of which were involved in the design.
The building, which was blessed at a ceremony involving Iwi (Māori people) from around Taranaki, was in part designed by artist Rangi Kipa to reflect the ancestral story of the Te Atiawa community.