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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Manawhenua ki Mohua and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency are inviting the local community to provide insights to help develop the longer-term plan for the Waitapu Bridge site adjacent to the Tākaka River in Mohua/ Golden Bay.

“It is important to work alongside Manawhenua ki Mohua and with the community to get the best outcomes for this culturally significant site, Waitapu,” says Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships, Emma Speight.

“This is a great opportunity for the community to hear from Manawhenua ki Mohua and Waka Kotahi on the history of Waitapu, and to get an understanding of the community’s views on why this area is special to them so that these values can be interwoven into the longer-term plan.”

Manawhenua ki Mohua, an iwi-mandated organisation representing Ngati Tama, Ngati Rārua and Te Ātiawa, says the kōrero with local community and site users is key to finding a workable solution and a positive outcome for everyone.

“To address the social, cultural and community values of Waitapu, we need to protect and look after those things dear to the local community,” Manawhenua ki Mohua says.

Waitapu is sacred for Manawhenua ki Mohua. WAITAPU is wāhi tapu – the name Waitapu translates as ‘sacred waters’.

“As kaitiaki (guardians) of taonga (sacred treasures) in Mohua we strive to protect and look after taonga for future generations,” Manawhenua ki Mohua says.

Ngā WAITAPU o Huriawa (the sacred waters of Huriawa) flow directly adjacent to Waitapu.

The Tākaka awa (river) and associated whenua (land) was extensively used by tūpuna (ancestors) and these relationships are reflected by the numerous, interrelated tapu sites in the area – extending from Te Waikoropupū (upstream) to the mouth of the Tākaka awa. 

In late 2020, Waitapu was removed from the Freedom Camping Bylaw by Tasman District Council. The area is now being managed by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency in partnership with Manawhenua ki Mohua.

Waka Kotahi has been working with Manawhenua ki Mohua to find a way to protect Waitapu, with an agreed interim plan, followed by a longer-term plan.

As part of an interim plan, both Manawhenua ki Mohua and Waka Kotahi agreed to not allow overnight camping at the site. Waka Kotahi then erected ‘No overnight stays’ signs to deter people. Unfortunately, people have still been using the site for overnight camping, which is continuing to impact upon the surrounding environment.

“One of the aims of the co-management with Manawhenua ki Mohua is to restore the river environment and the water quality at Waitapu. Even with good management, people camping overnight generally results in some damage to and pollution of the land and the river.

“We want Waitapu to be an area of pride for everyone in Mohua,” Ms Speight says.

Join us:

Manawhenua ki Mohua and Waka Kotahi want to hear your views to help develop the longer-term plan for Waitapu. Come along to the following events and share why Waitapu is special to you.

Friday 30 April

  • Manawhenua ki Mohua karakia and kōrero starting at the Waitapu Bridge site at 3.30pm, then following on at the Golden Bay Recreation Centre at 5-6.30pm.

Saturday 1 May

  • Community drop-in session from 10am – 12pm at the Tākaka Village Green

If you cannot make these events, you can email your feedback or ask us questions by emailing waitapubridge@nzta.govt.nz. Feedback closes at 5pm on Monday 10 May.

MIL OSI