The i-SITE Visitor Centre(Big Dog Information Centre)
The idea to build an information centre in the shape of a dog – ‘The Big Dog Information Centre’ – initially came from John Drake, who owns the land where Tirau’s dog and sheep buildings are located.
When the South Waikato District Council was looking for a site to build new public toilets, the land beside the sheep, belonging to John and Nancy Drake, seemed to be ideal.
The Drakes, along with local businessman Henry Clothier, had a vision that the area be used not just as public toilets, but as a complex including an information centre, car park and picnic area.
Their vision was for a building in the shape of a dog to be constructed next to the sheep. Local enthusiasm was stirred and the project approved.
Work started in January 1998, with a team of willing volunteers working alongside local tradesmen.
The building was officially opened in September 1998.
The shape of the dog’s head was constructed by local craftsman Steven Clothier.
The interior mural, depicting local scenes, was painted by Tirau artist Fred Luckman and is a much-admired feature of the building.
In April 2005 a stunning stained glass window was officially unveiled. This replaced the original painted window which had unfortunately faded with time.
Tirau i-SITE is part of the Visitor Information Network, with 77 i-SITEs nationwide
- Itinerary planning and information
- Free maps, weather & mountain safety information
- Gift shop and Internet kiosks
- Bookings nationwide for accommodation, transport and activities
- Local information on events, attractions and restaurants
- Public toilets (accessed from outside the building)