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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

A karakia was held this morning to mark the start of construction to widen State Highway 2 at Te Pa-o-Toi, as Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency continues its work to improve safety on Hawke’s Bay’s roads.

The karakia was delivered by kaumatua Bevan Taylor of Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust, which the Transport Agency has partnered with on the construction, as the area is a wāhi taonga (site of cultural significance) for the hapū represented by the Trust.

The construction site is on a hill that is one of the hapū’s oldest pā, with a stream that runs near the site. Mr Taylor will be providing cultural advice to the Transport Agency throughout the construction.

The Transport Agency and the Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust will also be working alongside Heritage New Zealand and archaeologist Elizabeth Pishief to monitor the site for culturally-significant discoveries and to ensure any discoveries are treated respectfully and appropriately.

“It’s important to the Transport Agency that our construction activities are undertaken in an environmentally and socially responsible manner,” Transport Agency Project Manager Rob Partridge says.

“We will be working closely with the Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust and Heritage New Zealand to protect the historic and cultural heritage of the site, while also ensuring that we deliver a safer road for all road users.”

James Lyver, Kaiwhakahaere Matua (General Manager) of Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust says, “We are pleased to be partnering with Waka Kotahi to protect our wāhi taonga from further damage while the necessary works are taking place.

“We acknowledge the proactive approach taken by Waka Kotahi and the respect shown. We are supportive of making this road safer for everyone and having kaumātua onsite for the duration of the construction is meaningful for us.”

This project is part of the overall $24 million safety improvements programme in Hawke’s Bay that covers the SH2 corridor from Waipukurau through to Wairoa.

Te Pa-o-Toi is one of the last sites to begin construction of safety improvements, with just over a month left of work on the project, not including one outstanding site in Bayview that will be completed later this year.

For more information on this project, visit www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh2-wairoa-to-bay-view/(external link) 

Attached photo: Onsite for a karakia at Te Pa-o-Toi. Left to right is Ben Grapes, Transport Agency Senior Safety Engineer; Bevan Taylor, kaumauta of Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust; Elizabeth Pishief Heritage New Zealand archaeologist.

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