Cultural and safety work started at Hatupatu Rock
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.