Plant a tree on Matariki at Takapūneke Reserve opening

Takapūneke Reserve. Photo: Newsline
Takapūneke Reserve. Photo: Newsline
Locals have been invited to celebrate the opening of the first stage of Takapūneke Reserve in Akaroa on Matariki day. 

Takapūneke was an important centre for trade between Ngāi Tahu and Europeans but, following a massacre in the 1830s, the area became tapu.

It was registered as wāhi tapu - a place of outstanding historical and cultural heritage values - in 2002. 

A pou, designed and created by renowned Ngāi Tahu master carver Fayne Robinson, will be revealed at the site during the opening and tree planting event on June 24.

The public opening ceremony will be held at the reserve from noon.

Food and drink are not allowed at the wāhi tapu site - but a hot drink and snack will be provided for people at the Gaiety Hall from 1.30pm.

Ōnuku Rūnanga chair Rik Tainui said the opening is a key milestone for Ōnuku whānau.

"Takapūneke is a place of cultural and historical significance for our people.

"The opening of the first stage of Takapūneke Reserve and the blessing of Pou Tū te Raki o Te Maiharanui is significant and represents an expression of our relationship to this whenua.

"Current and future planned works at Takapūneke help us to realise the aspirations of many generations of Ōnuku tīpuna."

The opening will see a public welcome and speeches followed by a small public planting. The work is part of a landscape master plan for the reserve developed jointly by Ōnuku Rūnanga and Christchurch City Council to acknowledge the cultural and historical importance of the site.

Council head ranger Paul Devlin said the public event and planting is suitable for families, with warm clothing and sturdy footwear recommended.

"Tree planting is a symbol of new beginnings making it a fitting way to mark the pou being unveiled and Matariki, which heralds the start of a new year in the Māori calendar."

Due to limited parking people can park on Beach Rd and walk up through Britomart monument to the reserve, or there will be shuttle buses running from the Akaroa Recreation Grounds and Gaiety Hall.

The public will be asked to gather within the newly landscaped area at the corner of Ōnuku Rd and Stanley Place for the event.

A traffic management plan will be in place limiting vehicles to the site. There will be shuttle vans to the event with pick ups starting at 11.30am from the Recreation Ground and the Gaiety Hall. The vans will stop running at noon and start to return people to their vehicles at 1.30pm.

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