15 Jun 2022

The call is out for locals to celebrate the public opening of the first stage of Takapūneke Reserve in Akaroa. The event will be marked by the unveiling of a pou at the site.

Takapūneke was an important centre for trade between Ngāi Tahu and European settlers, 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.

Ōnuku Rūnanga Chair Rik Tainui says this 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 pou, which was designed and created by renowned Ngāi Tahu master carver Fayne Robinson, will be revealed on New Zealand’s first Matariki Public Holiday on 24 June 2022. A public opening will be held at the reserve from midday.

A public welcome and speeches will be 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 says 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 wanting to attend the public opening can park on Beach Road 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 12.00pm and start again to return people to their vehicles at 1.30pm.

As food and drink are not permitted on this wāhi tapu site there will be a hot drink and snack for people at the Gaiety Hall from 1.30pm

*To manage transport and catering please register your interest for the planting ceremony by emailing parks.volunteers@ccc.govt.nz.