Cul­tural and safety work started at Hatu­patu Rock

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The area sur­round­ing Hatu­patu rock on State High­way 1 near Ati­a­muri is be­ing up­graded for safer ac­cess to the cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant site.

The NZ Trans­port Agency, Mana Whenua groups, Her­itage New Zealand, and the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil have started work on the project which will in­clude up­grad­ing the carpark, ac­cess and drainage at the site, and a new land­scaped area sur­round­ing the rock it­self.

The rock holds great sig­nif­i­cance be­cause it is as­so­ci­ated with the le­gendary trav­eller Hatu­patu and the an­ces­tress Ku­run­gaituku/ Ku­ran­gaituku and peo­ple of­ten stop at the site be­cause of this.

The Trans­port Agency’s Waikato and Bay of Plenty re­gional direc­tor Parekawhia Mclean said the Trans­port Agency has worked closely with the Mana Whenua groups to pre­serve the rock’s cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

‘‘We are very pleased to have col­lec­tively come up with a plan that not only recog­nises its im­por­tance but also im­proves safety for all vis­i­tors to the rock site.’’

South Waikato Mayor Jenny Shat­tock said the coun­cil was look­ing for­ward to the com­ple­tion of the work.

The site was of ‘‘spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance’’ to mana whenua groups and coun­cil will main­tain the site.

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