Local landmark gets protected

By Lawrence Gullery

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Well-known Hawke's Bay landmark, Kahuranaki, is the first mountain in the country to be registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

The trust's Maori Heritage Council approved the the site to be recorded on the register of historic places, historic areas, wahi tapu and wahi tapu areas, following a report on the landmark and submissions from the public.

The report said Kahuranaki was associated with many hapu but in particular was sacred to Ngati Kahungunu and the Te Whatuiapiti hapu in terms of spiritual, ritual, traditional and mythological values.

Ancient burial sites and a burial cave on Kahuranaki have been sealed off from the public since the late 1800s. And the mountain appeared in a number of stories, tracking the deeds of ancestors and prominent leaders, which form an important part of the history of the region.

Kahuranaki was often acknowledged in the pepeha (written and verbal history) of people from Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Whatuiapiti who connect to the mountain via past generations.

In 2010, descendants of Ngati Kahungunu walked the six kilometre tramp up the mountain as part of an event called True Connections which aimed to show young people their historic links to the land.

The 646m high mountain was one of the most prominent landmarks along the coastal range in Southern Hawke's Bay. It was the highest summit in Hawke's Bay, towering over coastal peaks including its neighbours Te Mata Peak (399m) and Mount Erin (200m).

The mountain was "physically and structurally unique", the report said. It had the shape of an oval disk and featured sandstones, mudstones and shelly limestones dating back millions of years.

Kahuranaki could be seen as far south as Pukehou and from the Napier-Taupo highway to the north. Its height meant it was ideal for a telecommunications tower, trig station and a Telecom building were were at the summit, built in the 1950s.

The trust said about 15 wahi tapu registered sites over the last six years from the Hawkes Bay region.

The trust's register informs property owners and the public about heritage places and works to assist protection of those places under the Resource Management Act. Registration is an identification and recognition tool and does not prevent places being altered or sold.

Councils were required however to consider the register when developing district plans and had to notify the trust of resource consent applications which involved places on the register.

Buildings and landmarks on the register also must be recorded on councils' Project Information Memorandum or a Land Information Memoranda reports.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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