The taps have been turned on at New Zealand’s first purpose-built whitewater park. Wero Whitewater Park in South Auckland will be open for business in less than two months.

The park’s general manager, Kiwi Olympic kayaking legend Ian Ferguson was joined by Vector chief executive Simon Mackenzie and Second Nature Charitable Trust chief executive Richard Jeffery to turn the wheel releasing 20 million litres of water into the park.

Ferguson says the facility has been 15 years in the planning but the “water flowing [for] the opening is now real”.

“It will take 15 days for millions of litres of water to fill the lake and the two whitewater courses,” he says.

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“Once the park is full [of water] the engineers will test the pump systems before I have a full operational training on the mechanical and engineering processes.”

The $37 million facility was built using more than 1200 truckloads of concrete.

It includes the world’s first man-made 4.5-metre waterfall, a grade 3-4 whitewater rafting and kayaking course for experts, and a grade 2-3 run for novices and school students.

Ferguson will test the course rapids with experienced rafters and kayakers before the park opens to the public in late April.

The water comes from Auckland’s town supply. About 6000 litres a second will flow through the smaller course while about 14,000 litres a second will flow through the larger run.

The park will also be used by emergency services personnel for river-rescue training, Ferguson says.

Mackenzie says the company is “delighted” to be associated with the facility.

The park will attract hundreds of thousands of local and international visitors, he says.

“The Vector Wero Whitewater Park features the very best of water engineering and water-pump technology.

“It’s a perfect partnership for us as we launch our own innovative technologies to the market, [such as] residential and commercial solar and battery solutions and electric vehicle charging stations.”

The entire complex, including the Vodafone Events Centre, is managed by Second Nature Charitable Trust, formerly known as the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust.

The project’s next four stages include plans for an art gallery, exhibitions, a Pacific migration show and cafe.

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