Katene welcomes commitment to mana whenua

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Member for Te Tai Tonga, Rahui Katene, has welcomed the commitment for mana whenua to play a leading role in protecting and preserving the significance of Te Motu Kairangi/Miramar Peninsula in Wellington.

A proposed conservation area based around Mahanga Bay and Watts Peninsula was announced today by Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson and attended by Taranaki Whanui, Wellington City Council and members of the Crown. Mahanga has historic pa sites occupied since early Maori settlement, and the Fort Ballance coastal defence installation which is built on the site of the main Mahanga Pa.

Speaking from Mahanga today, Rahui said that the whakapapa to this piece of land is known and valued by many iwi. Indeed an interpretation of Te Motu Kairangi esteemed or precious island reflects the unique history it holds in our cultural heritage

Te Motu Kairangi was a breathing place for many tribes moving south. It is part of the tribal history known to Ngati Tara, Ngati Ira, Rangitane, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Mamoe, Ngai Tahu and Taranaki Whanui. Archival evidence demonstrates the presence of iwi evident through pa sites, kainga, food collection and battlesites

In later periods of our history, the New Zealand Company settlers arrived, Chinese labourers were employed to construct a tunnel, and defence works were constructed under the Public Works Act, and today there are still historic remnants of fortifications, architecture and military installations. And of course, the land was also the location for the Point Halswell Women’s Reformatory.

I am delighted that Sir Ngatata Love has agreed to chair a high level committee to oversee the restoration of the area.

It is absolutely fundamental to our evolving nationhood that mana whenua and the Crown work together, to shape our future.

The Maori Party is proud that the Treaty partnership will be reflected in the design and redevelopment of this precious new public reserve. We look forward to the leadership of the mana whenua in writing our history”.

Media contact: Ammon Katene 04 817 8262 021 021 70222

Authorised by Rahui Katene, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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