Dec. 6, 2019, 12:26 p.m.
The dawn chorus surrounding Ikatiritiri was met with the resounding hum of ancient karakia as a carved pou depicting centuries of Ngāti Kahu history was unveiled with the completion of the new two-laned bridge at Taipā.
This monument commemorates Māmaru, the sea-faring vessel in which Kupe, that great Polynesian explorer and navigator used to voyage from Hawaiiki, crossing the Pacific Ocean and discovering Aotearoa. It also pays homage to the dedication of soldiers during the world war who fought with the 28th Māori Battalion.
There was also a nod to the locally famous bridge builder turned waka builder and navigator, Sir Hector Busby for his contributions to both the iwi and the world, something Ngāti Kahu spokesman Nikki Tauhara said was just one way for the iwi to give back to him.
“There was all sorts going on when the Government announcer the knighthood for Hek.
“We sat and we talked as an iwi to determine what exactly our contribution would be to acknowledge his mahi and the plaque unveiled for him was just one way we could thank him,” said Mr Tauhara.
Ngāti Kahu iwi laid strong foundations from the off-set with their project partners including local government bodies, NZTA and Fulton and Hogan. Wikatana Popata said the relationships forged and maintained throughout the building project were good for future working relationships between iwi and other agencies.
“It’s been really good to see the progress made from the relationships we’ve made through the project. It worked successfully and it’s good to see us all moving in the same direction”.
According to oral traditions the voyage was made thirty-four generations before the Great Migration. Mamaru is claimed to be the first vessel to disturb the waters of the Pacific Ocean, landing here at Ikatiritiri, the mouth of the Taipa River.
Kupe made numerous voyages around Aotearoa including the Chatham Islands. On his return to Hawaiki, Mamaru was taken over by Te Parata and Tūmoana who came to Aotearoa during the Great Migration, bringing with them the ancestors of the Ngāti Kahu people.