Tohu Whenua launches first mana whenua site

Tohu Whenua has marked a significant milestone today with the launch of its first landscape story-based site, Te Kopikopiko o te Waka near Te Weheka/Fox Glacier.

Tohu Whenua is a visitor programme that connects New Zealanders with their heritage by promoting significant historical and cultural sites that have shaped Aotearoa New Zealand. It is a partnership between Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga with support from Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment Hīkina Whakatutuki and Te Puni Kokiri Ministry of Māori Development.

Te Kopikopiko o te Waka is located near Te Weheka/Fox Glacier and boasts panoramic views of Kā Tiritiri o te Moana/the Southern Alps. Here, DOC has worked with Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio to redevelop the site previously known as Peak View, to celebrate and showcase the connection of mana whenua with the landscapes of Te tonga ki te Tai o Poutini/South Westland. Co-designed with Ngāti Mahaki, it features cultural design elements and is landscaped with a central waka feature to present the whakapapa of mana whenua and the overarching story of the creation of the Southern Alps.

Tohu Whenua Steering Group member, Nic Jackson said at the launch "the inclusion of Te Kopikopiko o te Waka in Tohu Whenua represents significant growth for the programme. It is the first site added that tells a truly mana whenua story".

Te Kopikopiko o te Waka was opened and launched as a Tohu Whenua site at a ceremony on 10 December 2022 attended by representatives from Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio, Ngāti Mahaki, DOC, and Heritage NZ Pouhere Taonga as well as Westland District Mayor Helen Lash, councillors, tourist operators and members of the community.

Read more about Te Kopikopiko o te Waka and its unique story here.

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