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A new display featuring historical artefacts found during the construction of the Tauranga Eastern Link (TEL) project is now available for viewing at the TEL Information Centre on Tara Road, Papamoa.
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says some of the artefacts found to date include a stone adze estimated to be 600 years old, as well as shell middens, hangi stones, china and an old wine bottle which are now displayed behind a glass cabinet at the Tauranga Eastern Link information centre.
Bay of Plenty state highways manager, Brett Gliddon, says the Tauranga Eastern Link travels through areas rich in cultural history and early land occupation so finding remnants of history is always exciting.
“To date the adze or ‘Toki Tarai’ has been the most significant find it was found by a worker who was clearing a site near Bruce Road”.
Mr Gliddon says the project team and tangata whenua have been working in partnership and have protocols in place if koiwi (human bones) or taonga (object that relates to Maori culture, history or society) are found.
“We understand the importance of the items we find and value our relationship with tangata whenua who are helping us manage the process”.
The historical display can be viewed at the TEL Information Centre which opened in July last year. Members of the public can visit the centre Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.30pm making it an ideal school holiday activity. There are also new displays showing the latest construction progress images which are updated every month.
The Tauranga Eastern Link will be the biggest roading construction project ever undertaken in the Bay of Plenty. The TEL will run from Te Maunga (near Baypark Stadium) in Tauranga to the existing junction of State Highways 2 and State Highway 33 (the intersection of the Rotorua and Whakatane highways) near Paengaroa. It will be made up of 17km of new road (which cannot be seen from the current SH2) and six kilometres of the existing state highway will be upgraded. The TEL is expected to be completed in 2016.
The Government has identified seven essential state highway projects linked to New Zealand’s economic prosperity. Called the roads of national significance, or RoNS for short, the NZTA is charged with delivering this programme of state highway improvements. The RoNS programme represents one of New Zealand’s biggest ever infrastructure investments and is a key part of the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan and Government’s Policy Statement for transport.
The seven RoNS projects are based around New Zealand's five largest population centres. The focus is on moving people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently. Other RoNS may be added in future but currently from north to south the seven projects are: Puhoi to Wellsford - SH1, Completing the Western Ring Route, Auckland - SH16, SH18 and SH20, Victoria Park Tunnel, Auckland - SH1, Waikato Expressway - SH1, Tauranga Eastern Link - SH2, Wellington Northern Corridor - SH1, Christchurch Motorways. More information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/rons.