Win­dow into Auck­land’s Maori his­tory

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - JACK­SON THOMAS

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.’’

SUP­PLIED

Auck­land Trans­port’s Tracey Berkahn, left, Ngati Whatua’s Bob Hawke, Clay Hawke and AT’s Tipa Com­pain un­veil the Emily St sign.

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