Cock­les point­ing the way

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Names can be mis­lead­ing, so while you might think Pau­ata­hanui was named for paua, it is cock­les which are sig­nif­i­cant in the vil­lage’s his­tory.

And now that his­tory is be­ing cel­e­brated, with nine large white cockle shell sculp­tures ap­pear­ing in the vil­lage cen­tre in June.

Paua is a generic term for bi­valve shell­fish, says Alan Gray, sec­re­tary of the Pau­ata­hanui Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion, who worked with Porirua City Coun­cil to have the cock­les in­stalled.

Cockle shells have been found in an­cient mid­dens or waste pits all along Pau­ata­hanui In­let, and the shell­fish were still abun­dant when Mr Gray was a boy, when he would eat them on the way home from school.

‘‘The cockle shells are quite an im­por­tant part of the in­let.’’

The con­crete cock­les were in­stalled as part of the coun­cil’s vil­lage plan scheme, in re­sponse to com­mu­nity feed­back about beau­ti­fy­ing the vil­lage cen­tre.

‘‘We’re very pleased with the way the vil­lage is spruc­ing up,’’ Mr Gray says.

Each cockle weighs 80 kilo­grams and the con­crete was mixed from white sand col­lected by their Nel­son-based sculp­tor, Andrew Bryden. The cock­les cost $850 each.

A week af­ter they were in­stalled, a cockle was stolen un­der the cover of night, and sur­faced in an em­bar­rassed lo­cal’s gar­den, but the theft was just a prank, Mr Gray says.

‘‘ It was prob­a­bly some­one from Whitby,’’ he jokes.

The cock­les have been placed strate­gi­cally to draw at­ten­tion to the en­trance to the Pau­ata­hanui Wildlife Re­serve, one of the most sig­nif­i­cant ar­eas of marsh­land in the coun­try, coun­cil land­scape ar­chi­tect Andrew Gray says.

The con­crete cock­les are just one stage of im­prove­ments in­cluded in Pau­ata­hanui’s vil­lage plan, the sub­urb’s coun­cil pro­ject man­ager Ja­son Harvey-Wills says. Al­ready the coun­cil has in­stalled speed bumps at the en­trance to the vil­lage and filled in ‘‘mon­ster pot­holes’’ in its main foot­path, he says.

Up next is a new bus stop in the vil­lage cen­tre and plans for a ‘‘green buf­fer zone’’ to iso­late the vil­lage from nearby Trans­mis­sion Gully when it is built.

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