Speaking at the announcement of a significant archaeological find on Cliff Rd this week, Ngai Tamarawaho kaumatua Peri Kohu made an interesting point.

He was advocating for Tauranga's proposed museum to be located at the site and said it would put tangata whenua "back into this part of town".

"You know we don't have a lot of presence in this town when you walk around. You have to walk across the harbour."

True, I thought. Weird.


I also spoke to archaeologist Ken Phillips. He said he had been working in Tauranga for 20 years and that the area is chocka with interesting archaeological stuff.

Researcher Fiona Kean could barely stop herself once she started telling me about the historical gems she discovered in her recent investigations into the illustrated history of the Cliff Rd area.

Rich history, tick. Passionate people willing to dig it out, tick.

Carlo Ellis, who leads strategic Maori engagement for the Tauranga City Council, told me he was keen to look for ways to better tell the stories of the tangata whenua of Tauranga Moana.

I can see why that is important to him.

Like a growing chunk of the city's population, I'm pretty new to Tauranga. The process of settling into life here has mostly involved grappling with the housing market and figuring out where the free parking is.

I haven't sought out much information about Tauranga's history.

But it does seem like I would need to seek it out. I haven't been everywhere, but my general impression is that Tauranga doesn't seem to wear its history - particularly its cultural history - on its sleeve like other places I've lived: Rotorua, Whakatane, Wellington.

Tauranga is changing rapidly, and it is good and necessary that city leaders are future-focused. It's an exciting time to arrive in the city.

I'm glad a museum - wherever it ends up - is on the agenda and that public interest and debate is strong. There's plenty of room to bring more of the past into the future of Tauranga Moana.