Rain in the early hours of Friday morning - the tears of Ranginui - had shed an early blessing on Tamatea Central Hawke's Bay ahead of an official ceremony to mark the finish of stage one of Ngā Ara Tipuna.
Ngā Ara Tipuna is a wide-reaching cultural heritage project developed by hapū in the rohe of Tamatea with Central Hawke's Bay District Council.
Guests gathered at the base of Pukekaihau Pā in Waipukurau that morning, waiting to be called up the hill, included Stuart Nash, Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Associate Minister of Local Government Kieran McAnulty and Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated chairman Bayden Barber.
They waited for the sound of the pūtātara, blown from the summit of the pā. Then school children dotted on the hillside began to swing purerehua ... the two sounds combining to create an atmosphere of anticipation.
The manuhiri, guests, at this celebration were to face three wero, challenges, on their way up the hill. This is exceptional and marks a momentous occasion ... usually there would be only one challenge to face.
The first challenger faced the guests, then, task completed he led them slowly up the hill, where they would pass through the pou, Te Hohou I Te Rongo - Cultivating Peace, to be seated.
As the speakers began, the sun came out and tui began to call in the trees around the gathering.
Brian Morris, Ngāti Mārau, Ngāi Te Rangitotohu, cultural lead for Ngā Ara Tipuna, said "There's a big group here - and so there shoud be.
"We are very pleased to finally celebrate the completion of this phase of Ngā Ara Tipuna. It is a model of what can be achieved when mana whenua and local authorities work together from inception through to completion."
Ngā Ara Tipuna combines traditional design elements with contemporary materials and technology, digital storytelling and displays at sites of cultural and natural significance in and around Waipukurau and Takapau, Central Hawke's Bay.
A self-guided driving tour, virtual tour and smartphone app share the stories unique to the people of Tamatea and their relationship with the land going back centuries - bringing seven historic pā sites to life, reinstating the place of mana whenua on the landscape.
Speakers acknowledged the mana whenua for their welcome and the leaders who came together to make the project, "this taonga created here" possible.
Minister Nash said it was an absolute privilege to be at the celebration with fellow ministers Kieran McAnulty and Meka Whaitiri.
"I must have been through Waipukurau a thousand times and never knew this site existed. Next time I will stop and explore ... my children will know this place."
An emotional Alex Walker, mayor of Tamatea Central Hawke's Bay, said she was incredibly proud to be mayor of Tamatea at this occasion.
"We are addressing intergenerational hurt here today, and with this taonga we are creating intergenerational opportunities."