Slice of history restored for all

It’s not much to look at from the road but the views from the top explain why this hill on the Takitimu Toll Road was chosen as a pa site. Photo: Daniel Hines

A small hill with a big view is the latest addition to Tauranga’s trail of historical sites.

Eagle-eyed motorists on the Takitimu Toll Road will have noticed steps being built to the summit of the hill that used to be Puketoromiro Pa.

Ngai Tamarawaho kaumatua Peri Kohu says the land was included in the 1864 government land confiscations and that was the last time the iwi had occupied the site.

The iwi has been involved in the restoration which is being carried out by the Tauranga City Council.

Manager of spaces and places Mark Smith says the project is part of the Kopurererua Valley development plan.

The project started with the removal of the non-native eucalyptus trees and retiring the site from grazing.

In 2015 the council gained an archaeological authority from Heritage NZ to undertake the work and to construct a floating walkway up and over the pa site.

Marks says that, weather-permitting, the project should be complete in August. It will include a track to the top and an interpretation panel.

“It has been exciting to work towards restoring this pa site, taking care to evaluate and uphold the area’s cultural and ecological values,” Mark says.

The walkway is ‘floating’ – meaning it is built above the ground to create minimal earth disturbance to protect the pa site archaeology from erosion.

“With construction almost complete, the area will then be replanted with appropriate natives before we’ll be ready to open this special place to the public,” Mark says.

Peri says some of the contours of the original pa are still there but it is the view that will impress people.

“What you will see is the view of the valley. Access has been made for the public to experience the pa site itself. It will be an enjoyable experience to be able to do that, so we are happy to do that … it will be great.”

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