Protecting Taonga

May 15, 2023

Protecting Taonga Protecting Taonga

When it was discovered that a piece of land was once an ancient pā site, TRC and Mana Whenua worked together to create one of the country’s first whare kōiwi.

Archaeologist Hans-Dieter Bader discovered evidence that a piece of land on Armein Road in Panmure was once a pā site – the first fortified pā site discovered in 150 years. TRC made the decision to forego plans for development and consulted with Mana Whenua about what to do with the land.

TRC worked with Rikki Solomon (Ngāti Kahungunu) to establish one of the country’s first whare koiwi – a purpose-built facility for the temporary housing of Kōiwi (or human bones) – that had been discovered on the whenua.

“The most important thing we can do is whakamana (give prestige to) the Kōiwi. They’ve been sitting there for hundreds of years, maybe more,” says Rikki. “We don’t want to just put them in a box, we want to treat them with the mana they deserve and that’s why we make harakeke for them, whariki (mats), uku props, uku Kōiwi so they go into uku (pottery). We wanted to create a specific space under the maunga and we are just humbled to be able to assist Mana Whenua.”

A story on the whare kōiwi and the discovery of a pā site on Armein road was featured on Ohinga, a te reo Māori series by Re: News.