National | Department of Conservation

Pou whenua to reestablish 'cultural footprint' of Ngāti Waewae/Ngāi Tahu

Unveiling of the pou marking the extension of the Kahurangi National Park in July 2019.   Photo Credit / DOC

A pou whenua reflecting the unique relationship between Ngāti Waewae/Ngāi Tahu and their whenua will be placed on Paparoa Track on the West Coast next year, the Ministry of Conservation says.

“The pou whenua is a significant step on the journey of reestablishing the cultural footprint and mana of Ngāti Waewae/Ngāi Tahu within the Paparoa maunga,” Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae chairman Francois Tumahai says.

Ngāti Waewae/Ngāi Tahu plan to create the pou in the form of a patterned steel panel five metres high and two metres wide.

The chosen location for the pou is near the highest point of the track, just south of the junction between the Paparoa Track and the Croesus Track down to Barrytown.

“It’s very important that visitors understand the cultural significance of this place and who holds rangatiratanga over this land,” says Tumahai.

The pou design and story behind it will be linked to three waharoa, or entranceways, on the track which were handmade by Ngāti Waewae/Ngāi Tahu carvers. These are at the Pororari River entry for walkers, the Punakaiki River entry for mountain bikers and at the Blackball entry, the ministry's statement says.

The pou is one of several that will be installed in the Ngāti Waewae takiwā.

The first was unveiled beside the Mōkihinui River in July 2019 to mark the addition of 64,400 hectares of land to Kahurangi National Park from the river catchment area.