The Ngāti Kahu hapū working group that played a key role in the design and construction of the new two-lane bridge on SH10 at Taipā has formally acknowledged those who attended last month's powhiri at Kauhanga Marae, Peria, and the opening of the bridge the following day.

Te Paatu Kauhanga Trust Board spokesman Pereniki Tauhara said the presence of Ngātokimatawhaorua, Whaakangi, Kuaka and Matariki, kaihautū and kaihoe had contributed to making the ceremony a special occasion that reflected the significance of waka landing at Doubtless Bay, while the pouwhenua Te Parata Moana-nui-a-kiwa and the design of the tauihu (prow) and taurapa (stern) that were part of the bridge were a tribute to those ancestors.

The "outstanding" contribution made by the design team of Billy Harrison, Lewis Manuel and Theresa Reihana was also acknowledged.

The monument plaques that had been unveiled read:

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'He tohu whakamāharatanga tenei ki a Mamaru, te waka hourua o Ngāti Kahu.

'No mua mai I te hekenga-nui, tōmenetia ai Te Moana-nui-a Kiwa e Kupe. I tau mai ki Wharetawa I Taipa, taiāwhio I ngā moutere. I te hokinga iho o Kupe ki Hawaiki kā riro te waka a Māmaru ki a Tūmoana rāua ko Te Parata, ōna mokopuna. Ka ū mai raua ki Ikatiritiri, te wahapu ō Taipā. Etahi atu waka e whai-panga ana ki a Ngāti Kahu ko Te Ruakaramea, Waipapa, Kurahaupo, Mataatua ko Ngatokimatawhaorua. E ai ki nga kōrero ko Māmaru te waka rangatira, waka tapu o nga waka katoa I ū mai ki tēnei whenua.'

(This monument commemorates Mamaru, the sea-faring vessel in which Kupe, that great Polynesian explorer and navigator, used to voyage from Hawaiiki, crossing the Pacific Ocean and discovering Āotearoa. According to oral traditions the voyage was made thirty-four generations before the Great Migration. Mamaru is claimed to be the first vessel to disturb the waters of the Pacific Ocean, landing here at Ikatiritiri, the mouth of the Taipā River.

(Kupe made numerous voyages around Āotearoa, including the Chatham Islands. On his return to Hawaiki, Mamaru was taken over by Te Parata and Tūmoana, who came to Āotearoa during the Great Migration, bringing with them the ancestors of the Ngāti Kahu people. Māmaru was anointed at Hawaiiki for the conveyance of elders of high rank, authority and sacredness, and is claimed to be the only sea-faring vessel in the Great Migration to possess such privileges. Other canoes of the Ngāti Kahu include Te Rukakaramea, Waipapa, Kurahaupo, Matatua and Ngatokimatawhaorua).

The contribution made by rangatira Ta Heke-nuku-mai-nga-iwi Puhipi to waka- and bridge-building was also memorialised on the monument with a plaque:

'He Tohu Aroha.

'He tohu whakamāharatanga tenei ki a Tā Heke-nuku-mai-nga-iwi Puhipi. Kei te takiwa o te rua rau Arawhiti ki roto o Te Tai Tokerau nāna I whaikoha kia tū. He tohunga tārai waka, he tohunga tātai arorangi. I te marama o Huitāngauru 2019 riro atu te Tohu Ta ki te kaumatua nei.'

(This plaque is dedicated to Sir Heke-nuku-mai-nga-iwi Puhipi for his contribution to at least 200 bridges built here in Northland. He was a world-renowned master waka-builder and a celestial navigator. The legacy he has left will live on. He was invested as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in February 2019).

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To acknowledge all those who have served, the memorial plaque also reads: 'Lest We Forget — This plaque is in honour of all our men and women who gave their lives and service for their country. Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 15:13 King James Version.'

"The installation of free community Wifi was supported by Northland Inc, the NZ Transport Agency, the Far North District Council, NB Smart Cities and McKay," Mr Tauhara added.

"The completion of the story boards will also support QR Codes linking Ngāti Kahu history.

"We also wish to thank our sponsors, the NZ Transport Agency, Te Puni Kokiri, Summit Forests NZ Ltd, Moana New Zealand, the Far North District Council, Ngāti Kahu Pataka and stallholders for making our four-day event an extraordinary historic occasion.

"To all those who worked upfront and behind the scenes to support the waka programme and opening event, thank you. Without the contribution of an inclusive community the event would not have been successful.

"We hope this event was a memorable occasion for all who attended throughout the four days of this Ngāti Kahu celebration. It is our hope that Ngāti Kahu will continue to celebrate unity of our hapū, iwi and community annually."