Huriawa joins Tohu Whenua Otago whānau

Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki gathered with representatives from Tohu Whenua to celebrate the launch of Huriawa as a Tohu Whenua site today.

On May 16, Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki gathered with representatives from Tohu Whenua, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Karitāne community members to celebrate the Tohu Whenua site launch of Huriawa; a coastal settlement with layers of treasured stories that are ready to explore via self-guided and/or guided walking tours and waka journeys.   
Huriawa, which is proudly cared for in partnership by Kati Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and The Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai, is the twelfth Tohu Whenua in Otago and the first to be launched that has a specific significance to mana whenua. Tohu Whenua is thrilled to welcome Huriawa into its growing network of sites that includes the Otago Central Rail Trail, Olveston Historic Home and Arrowtown among others in Otago, as well as sites in Te Tai Tokerau Northland and Te Tai Poutini West Coast.

Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki Chair Matapura Ellison shares the significance of Huriawa to Kāi Tahu: “Huriawa holds a central part in the history of the Kāti Kurī traditions on the East Otago coast. It was a favoured pā site because it offered a defensive advantage against attacks. It also provided abundant mahika kai and kaimoana for the hapū of Te Wera and his people. When it was returned as part of the Ngāi Tahu Claims in 1998, it became a symbol of regaining our whenua. It allowed our hapū to exercise rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga. The korowai of Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka covers this entire landscape,” shares Mr Ellison.   

Huriawa is a perfect fit for Tohu Whenua given its depth of history and the number of ways people can experience the site and hear the stories of this special place and its people, with something for every visitor.  The Huriawa Pā Walk (a 2.4km loop track) around the peninsula provides spectacular views, historical information and even a blow hole where the incoming tide is forced up through the rocks.  
Guided tours allow visitors to walk with the people of Huriawa and hear first-hand stories of Chief Te Wera and the legendary Huriawa siege, the Waikouaiti Whaling Station and the first Mission Station in the South Island. Karitāne Māori Tours, owned and operated by the rūnaka, offers walking tours around the pā, a 2-hour waka experience or an immersive 4-hour package including both.   
A recent survey commissioned by Tohu Whenua revealed that 78% of New Zealanders surveyed want to learn more about NZ history and many indicated a specific interest in Māori heritage.    
“Tohu Whenua sites provide unique opportunities to encounter and interact with the history that has created Aotearoa New Zealand’s story. We are thrilled to be able to promote the incredible visitor experience at Huriawa within the Tohu Whenua network,” Andrew Coleman, Manahautū/Chief Executive of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and Chair of the Tohu Whenua Governance Group said at the launch. “Tohu Whenua sites are fantastic places to bring whānau and friends and it’s great to be welcoming the first mana whenua site in the Otago region.”    
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Deputy Kaiwhakahaere Tania Wati congratulated Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki on the recognition of Huriawa as Tohu Whenua.    
“We stand proudly alongside Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki in celebration. The years of dedication and effort from Puketeraki whānau have been poured into the stewardship of Huriawa. This tribal property embodies the values of mana whenua and echoes the stories of our tūpuna. This recognition is very well deserved.”   

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