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The realignment of Riwaka-Kaiteriteri Road at Pukekoikoi (Turners Bluff) has been delayed after the discovery of the remains of an early Māori pa on the top of the bluff. Work has been suspended as the Council, iwi, NZ Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) and the land owner work together to find a solution.
The NZHPT says the pa tuwatawata (or fortified pa) discovered is a significant discovery and it is rare to find one in such good condition.
Ann Neill, Central Region General Manager for NZHPT says “While delays are regrettable, the search is on for an alignment that best delivers retention of the pa’s integrity and private property rights”.
Iwi have requested the preservation of this area because in the past so many similar areas have been destroyed and/or affected by land development and road works.
Like other pa sites, this recent find is an important symbol for the region and the world on early Māori tradition and iwi narratives on how people lived on a day-to-day basis and where they lived. More important is what we can gain from protecting this area and the potential it has for restoration, said Tiakina te Taiao Chair, Barney Thomas.
Gary Clark, the Council’s Transportation Manager says “Unfortunately with the road being located between the bluff and Māori pa and situated on a steep cliff bordering the sea there are limited options for realigning the road. Council staff have been developing alternatives to address the road safety and route security to this important area.
“The landowner has been keen to progress the project as much as Council and since the impasse of a compromised design, has come up with an alternative alignment which has meant sacrificing some of the potential of the site at their considerable cost.”
Gary states: “Before any options can be progressed, alternative funding streams need to be explored and changes applied for to existing resource consents. Even then we need the buy-in of all parties involved before altering designs, drawings and progressing with construction, understandably this process takes time.
“We are very conscious to that this is someone’s land and is still privately owned. All parties need to recognise the current situation is unusual and the landowners have been willing partners. As such their needs and property rights should be respected. In some instances there has been a lack of courtesy shown to them by public entering on to their land.“
“We are hopeful that a solution is close to being finalised involving a route that provides for the safe and efficient movement of traffic past this special site,” said Mr Clark.