Fletcher Building company Winstone Wallboards, with local mana whenua in attendance, held a dawn ground blessing ceremony at the site of its new GIB® plasterboard facility in Tauriko this morning.
Winstone Wallboards General Manager David Thomas said: “We are excited to have taken this significant step blessing the land alongside representatives from the Ngai Tamarawaho and Ngati Hangarau hapu.
“The ceremonial whenua, or soil, removed as part of the site blessing has now been handed over to nearby Taumata School by Winstone Wallboards representatives. The local school will be the Kaitiaki (guardian) of the whenua until the facility is completed and the whenua can be returned to the site.
“As a responsible New Zealand business, our relationships with the community are important to us and we greatly appreciate how welcoming the community has been since we announced in February that we would be building our new facility in Tauriko,” said Mr Thomas.
“We are firmly committed to local manufacturing and the facility will bring significant economic benefit to the region. It will create around 100 new permanent jobs in Tauranga and at peak construction there will be around 300 people working on site.
“The location is ideal for North Island distribution, as well as being near the Port of Tauranga for delivery of raw materials used to manufacture plasterboard.
“Winstone Wallboards is New Zealand’s only local manufacturer of plasterboard and is focused on delivering the highest quality product for New Zealand homes and buildings.
“Building a new plant means we will be able to significantly reduce our carbon emissions, recycle waste plasterboard as well as ensure continuity of supply in New Zealand for the long term.”
Led by hapu representatives, the Winstone Wallboards ceremony was held this morning, 8 December 2020, at 6:30am. Attendees included Ngai Tamarawaho and Ngati Hangarau hapu, Taumata School and Fletcher Building representatives.
Winstone Wallboards’ new state-of-the-art plasterboard facility, which will combine manufacturing and distribution, is planned to be operational in the second half of calendar year 2023.