Gateway highlights Maori village site

By Rebecca Savory

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Fulton Hogan Construction Alliance project director Andrew Johnson, kaumatua Teia Williams, carvers Noel McAllister, Jason Puata, Joel Komene, Dean Flavell and Wayne Troughton in front of the waharoa.
Fulton Hogan Construction Alliance project director Andrew Johnson, kaumatua Teia Williams, carvers Noel McAllister, Jason Puata, Joel Komene, Dean Flavell and Wayne Troughton in front of the waharoa.

The site of a historic Maori village in the Bay of Plenty has been commemorated with a six-metre-high carving and palisade fencing.

The waharoa (gateway) structure overlooks a site where a pa once stood in the area of the new Paengaroa roundabout. The work marks the most eastern entry and exit point of the Tauranga Eastern Link.

Completed by Te Toi Takapu carvers, the design represents a father and his sons who lived and grew vegetables in the area in the 1600s.

New Zealand Transport Agency Tauranga Eastern Link senior project manager Wayne Troughton said the waharoa captured the essence of the former Maori village and would give motorists a greater appreciation of the history of the area. "It adds distinctive character to the area, the landscape and the driving experience."

Due to the site's importance to local iwi and its historic value, the Transport Agency worked closely with the project's Tangata Whenua Advisory Group and a Heritage New Zealand archaeologist during construction of the roundabout.

Tangata Whenua Advisory Group co-chairman Dean Flavell said the pa site was once part of a network of waahi marakai (gardening village) in the Pukaingataru tribal lands.

"It was established during the 1600s, in the times of the Tapuika ancestor, Marukukere," Mr Flavell said.

The Tauranga Eastern Link is expected to be open to motorists by late 2015.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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