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Timber Design Awards

Tarawera River Rafting/Kayaking Viewing Facility

The scenic and wild Tarawera river near Kawerau is the venue for kayaking and rafting competition events. In preparation for the 2013 World Rafting Championships, Kawerau District Council needed to provide visitor viewing facilities along the bank of the river to accommodate crowds safely.

The steep unstable pumice river banks and the need to provide for potentially large crowds posed significant design challenges.

Frame Group developed an unconventional tied timber retaining wall and barrier design consisting of ground anchors, waler posts and large timber pole horizontal beams supporting vertical retaining boards.

Being NZ’s smallest Council, Kawerau needed a cost effective solution, but one that the community could be proud of as a showcase to the world. The simple but effective design utilises locally supplied Radiata Pine timber poles, boards and posts to reflect the close link between Kawerau and timber industry.

The finished viewing area meanders along the river bank above the slalom course providing excellent viewing of the river. The wall nests against the bank, flanked by restorative plantings, and the timber poles provide places for mounting event hoarding and advertising. The unique wall construction detail also acts as the support system for the slalom gate suspension wires.

The wall viewing facility construction was managed by the Council and completed in time for the World Rafting Championships in November 2013. This project demonstrates the use of an unusual and innovative timber design solution to provide a cost effective and functional facility that a small community is extremely proud of.