A mauri stone was today placed at the centre of the platform being created for the navigation compass at Waitangi Regional Park.
Te Matau a Māui Voyaging Trust members, project staff from HBRC, Fulton Hogan and MWH Ltd met at the Waitangi Regional Park enhancement site this morning to witness the ceremonial placement, carried out by Te Matau a Māui Voyaging Trust director Piripi Smith.
“I sourced this stone from one of my voyages to islands in the Pacific. The stone comes from a centre of learning for traditional star-based navigation, so it’s fitting to set it here in what we hope will become a waananga or learning place for Māori and others. Visitors here will experience the navigation compass, iconic pou, wetlands, planting and informative signs telling our rich stories,” says Mr Smith.
The kaumatua leading today’s ceremony was Matiu Eru.
Councillor Rex Graham was also present, representing the governors of HBRC. He has been a constant supporter of this project to enhance Waitangi.
“This site is transforming. Soon we’ll have a place of learning, to enjoy nature and experience the stunning Hawke’s Bay coastline, celebrate Maori and settler history and the strong partnerships we are nurturing. I am delighted to be a part of this,” says Cr Graham.
Access to the site has been restricted for public safety and to enable heavy construction to occur. The site will be closed to the public for four weeks immediately after Labour Weekend.
The project is fully visible to passing traffic. The current focus is on building the platform where a massive compass and positional pou will be erected, creating the carpark, access road and surrounding pathways.
Key elements of this project are expected to be complete in readiness for Waitangi Day 2017 celebrations.
CAPTION: Piripi Smith (holding the mauri stone) and kaumatua Matiu Eru of Te Matau a Māui Voyaging Trust with Dan Gilbert at today’s ceremony.
14 October 2016
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