Window into Auckland’s Maori history
Auckland’s Maori history will be more widely understood with 20 signs providing a window into the past being erected throughout the city.
The signs are part of a regional project run by Auckland Transport (AT), iwi and local boards.
The signs, which cost nearly $5000 all up, tell stories about local Maori history at each location.
‘‘The signs showcase the history, culture and traditions of mana whenua,’’ an AT spokesperson said.
Mana whenua refers to iwi which have authority over a particular area or piece of land.
There are 19 iwi who represent mana whenua in Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland).
AT said the signs would give Aucklanders and tourists a glimpse into the city’s history.
A sign was unveiled at a ceremony on June 28 at Emily Place Reserve, within the Princes St historic heritage area.
It features a story of the land, once a headland and battle field that stretched from the bottom of Princess St to Quay St.
Clay Hawke of Ngati Whatua Orakei said the site was arguably the most important piece of land in the history of the establishment of Auckland City.
‘‘This was the place our ancestors and Crown representatives met and signed an agreement to transfer the first block of land that facilitated the development of our city.
So it’s important that all Aucklanders are aware of the signifi- cant role our ancestors played in this,’’ Hawke said.
‘‘Most people, including many Ngati Whatua Orakei are unaware of any of these rich stories of Tamaki Makaurau.
This is but one of many stories that the project will tell and we hope future generations will not simply take them for granted.’’
Signs have already been installed on Fanshawe St near the Viaduct and in Panmure.
Ngati Whatua had been asking council for better recognition of Maori heritage, and the signs were a step in the right direction, the spokesperson said.
‘‘Our long-term vision is for our people and all Aucklander’s to have a deep understanding of the social, ecological and Maori history of Tamaki Makaurau,’’ Hawke said.
‘‘Knowing who you are and the place you come from or now live in is fundamental to the well being of all people.’’
Auckland Transport’s Tracey Berkahn, left, Ngati Whatua’s Bob Hawke, Clay Hawke and AT’s Tipa Compain unveil the Emily St sign.