Ngā Poutiriao ō Mauao to restore Waipatukakahu on Mauao

10 June 2021

News

Ngā Poutiriao ō Mauao is to begin works to restore Waipatukakahu puna or stream on Mauao and re-establish the historical site as its traditional cultural purpose.

As part of the restoration project, representatives of Ngā Poutiriao ō Mauao (Mauao Joint Administration Board) will remove a number of exotic trees next week from along Te Ara Tūtanga or Base Track. This includes four large oak large trees that currently grow on this very old puna site on the southern flank.

In line with the 2018 Mauao Historic Reserve Management Plan, exotic trees are to be progressively removed from Mauao given its status as a special ecological area.

As the oak trees are deciduous the leaf fall and seedling growth stops the flow of this important puna, which would naturally pool at the base.

Due to the importance of this historic site, landowners wish to restore the Waipatukakahu waterflow and have the site returned to its original cultural purpose as being a place for weaving.

Ngā Poutiriao ō Mauao chairman, Dean Flavell said as representatives of the traditional owners and guardians of Mauao we care deeply for the maunga and do not wish to further degrade the Waipatukakahu, which translates to mean ‘the stream where flax garments are made’.

“Currently this puna is blocked every year for many months. Removing these trees and the resulting leaf debris will produce an uninterrupted flow of water. By enabling the water to flow we are helping to restore the mauri (life force) of Waipatukakahu and of Mauao.

The area will then be replanted with three mass pa harakeke plantings made up of different types of harakeke unique to this area for weaving.

“Rather than being a place to look at, this area is to again become a place where people can come to weave and create the muka (prepared flax fibre). 

 “Our aspiration is for people to come to practice their weaving artform and allow tangata whenua to reconnect with this cultural site. It is to become a place of living history and we look forward to bringing old traditional uses and practices back to Mauao. 

“As the oaks have grown for a long time on this important site, they will be taken off site to be carved and returned to the maunga as taonga,” Mr Flavell said.

The other four exotic trees to be removed are Pine, Elm, Grevillia and Brachychiton. All of the trees are currently growing on archaeological features and will be removed by specialists.

During works, the Te Ara Tūtanga/Base Track will be partially closed 15-18 June and 21-25 June, and a full circuit of the Te Ara Tūtanga/Base Track will not be possible. Access to the track will be from the ocean side only. Wardens will be in place to advise visitors of the closure.

Mauao Historic Reserve is private land owned by the Mauao Trust, that is available and enjoyed by all as a public space. Ngā Poutiriao o Mauao is the joint management board for Mauao made up of representatives of the Mauao Trust and Tauranga City Council. The joint management of Mauao is guided by the 2018 Mauao Historic Reserve Management Plan, which was created though public consultation and through the aspirations of the Mauao Trust. In line with the management plan exotic planting and wilding trees will be progressively removed.

Images below: design for the cultural heritage site.