Plans by two hapū of Ngāti Pikiao to expand their Wahanui urupā, or burial site, near Lake Rotoehu have received a boost thanks to a $36,000 grant from Transpower's Community Care Fund.
The Wahanui urupā has been a culturally significant site for more than a century.
It represents the final resting place of many hapū members of Ngāti Tamateatutahi and Ngāti Kawiti.
A goal of both hapū has been to extend the urupā to ensure whānau can be buried close to their tūpuna, while improving access for those who visit.
Urupā Trust trustee Davey Gardiner said cultural heritage was important and defined the hapū identity.
"Our sites of cultural significance were shaped by our tūpuna (ancestors) and as kaitiaki (guardians) we have a duty to preserve these taonga tuku iho (cultural treasures).
"The urupā is of particular significance as the resting place for many of our tūpuna and has been for several generations now. They might no longer be with us in a physical sense, but spiritually they are always here – we welcome them with every pōhiri."
The $36,000 from Transpower's Community Care fund will go some way to help fund new concrete beams and berms to support new burial plots.
Transpower stakeholder engagement manager Geoff Wishart said its network was all about sustaining connections, so he was delighted to facilitate that connection for ngaa hapū of Ngāti Pikiao with this grant.
"In this case one of our transmission lines is literally just over the road from the urupā, and Ngāti Pikiao has been very gracious hosts for many years so it felt only right to contribute."
With the bulk of the funding for Wahanui urupā now secured, tenders will be reissued to update original quotes with a view to starting work next year.