Maungaruahine Pā Historic Reserve in Te Puke
Image: Te Kapu O Waitaha | DOC

Introduction

The first steps to restoring Maungaruahine Pā, an imposing hilltop fortress which stands gazing out over the flat lands to the coast at Pāpāmoa, are underway.

Date:  15 February 2022

The pā site, formally Maungaruahine Pā Historic Reserve, was returned to Waitaha-a-Hei under the iwi’s 2013 Treaty of Waitangi claims settlement.

Funding of $355,000 from the Government’s Mahi mō te Taiao Jobs for Nature programme will mean the iwi can make a meaningful start to restoring the site on Te Puke’s No.3 Road over a three-year period.

Already, two kaimahi (workers) have established a network of traps targeting possums, stoats and rats, and significant effort has been made to remove Taiwan cherry and other invasive weeds.

Te Kapu O Waitaha chief executive Vivienne Robinson said restoring the pā is a critical step in reconnecting the iwi with a place that has a tragic and poignant history.

Longer term there is a vision for the pā site and surrounding reserve to provide on-going employment for Waitaha-a-Hei whanaunga, while also providing a spiritual anchor and nurturing well-being through provision of rongoa Māori.

“Clearly this project is a very important pillar in building a positive future for us,” Ms Robinson said.

“Through this work we will promote the continuance of traditions and practices as the core principle for improving the health and wellbeing of the Maungaruahine Pā Historic Reserve and its unique legacies.”

As well as being the channel for the Jobs for Nature funding, the Department of Conservation (DOC) is taking an active role supporting Waitaha-a-Hei in the project.

DOC Tauranga Operations Manager Jeff Milham said the heritage pā is one of three returned to Waitaha-A-Hei.

“Jobs for Nature funding will enable the protection and preservation of this significant historic pā and reserve."

Mr Milham said while the funding will create jobs for a short period, the cultural benefits and obligations of kaitiaki as expressed by Te Kapu O Waitaha will be enduring.

Work on the 17 hectare reserve is being guided by a recent assessment of the heritage pā site which recommended eradication of invasive weeds, including wilding conifers and vines, as a priority to prevent the spread and impact on the indigenous forest on the site. 

Further work will include cultural mapping, and pest eradication aligned to the Government’s Predator Free 2050 goal.

Background information

The Government’s Mahi mō te Taiao Jobs for Nature programme is a $1.219 billion investment in the creation of 11,000 nature-based jobs. As a part of this programme the DOC will allocate $488 million to projects that will create approximately 4,800 nature-based jobs over a four-year period.

It is supercharging the conservation efforts of DOC, iwi and hapū, councils, and the wider community to implement kaitiakitanga. This funding will help restore the mauri and mana of Te Taiao (our nature) by controlling pests and weeds, restoring wetlands, and returning native bush, rivers, and streams to health.

For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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