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A difficult section of Te Henui Walkway will be bypassed with the construction of two bridges.
Construction will start in November on the shared pathway bridges on either side of Pukewharangi Pā. Currently this section of the walkway comprises two stairways, which are problematic for those with prams and bicycles and impossible for those in wheelchairs.
“The stairs will remain as an alternative route, but the two bridges will mean people can travel the length of Te Henui Walkway without encountering steps,” says Let’s Go Project Manager Carl Whittleston.
In planning the bridge diversion, the Council has worked closely with the Historic Places Trust, the hapu Ngāti Tuparikino, Ngāti Tawhirikura and Ngāti Te Whiti, the Department of Conservation and other interested parties.
“There are three pā in this area: Pukewharangi, Parihamore and Puketarata. Once completed, the bridges will be joined by an interpretive sign telling the pre-European history of the area.”
Friends of Te Henui Coordinator Valda Poletti says the group is thrilled to bits with the development.
“These bridges will not only improve access for those who live on the mountain side of Pukewharangi Pā, but they’ll also preserve the bush remnant from Spencer Place which would have been compromised if the existing path had instead been widened or had ramps installed to replace the steps,” she says.
Construction of the bridges will take about three months to complete.
The bridges will be the latest significant construction project to help people be more active. In March the Council opened the new Mangaotuku Walkway between Marfell and Moturoa and the Waiwhakaiho Walkway from Merrilands to Fitzroy, and a major upgrade of Huatoki Walkway is in its final weeks.
Last year Mangati Walkway in Bell Block was extended and upgraded, and Te Henui Walkway’s path was substantially improved.
Several other improvements have been made to walkways, footpaths and roads as part of the Let’s Go programme to make them more accessible to a wide range of users.
About the pa
These three pā were occupied until the late 18th Century by Ngāti Tuparikino (a Te Atiawa hapu closely linked by whakapapa to Ngāti Te Whiti and Ngāti Tawhirikura). Their geographical location allowed the hapu to sustain themselves by cultivating adjacent lands, and catching eels in Te Henui and fish from the sea.
A few of the fortifications are still visible today.