Takapūneke Reserve restored to national significance

On the morning of Friday, 24 June, as the sun rose on Banks Peninsula, marking the first public holiday celebrating Matariki, a group of assembled guests witnessed the unveiling of Pou Tū te Raki o Te Maiharanui — a pou designed and carved by Ngai Tahu artist and master carver Fayne Robinson.

Pou Tū te Raki o Te Maiharanui has been unveiled as the centrepiece to Takapūneke Reserve, as part of a restorative programme recognising the site’s wāhi tapu significance.

Situated at Takapūneke Reserve, Pou Tū te Raki o Te Maiharanui is the first of four pou planned for the site to tell the story of the land and its 200-year journey from British confiscation to recognition as wāhi tapu.

“Citycare Property is incredibly proud to have played a role in the restoration of Takapūneke Reserve to a place of national significance,” says the project’s manager Brent Cations.


Expertise in social infrastructure

Having worked with Christchurch City Council on other significant social infrastructure projects, including Victoria Square and the Bridge of Rememberance, the Citycare Property Open Spaces Management team was approached by council to act as lead contractor on the project late last year and works began in October, with the original unveiling set down for Waitangi Day.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 lock down meant the planned ceremony had to be delayed, however, that delay did allow for more of the landscape master plan works to be completed.

Lee Gardiner and Brent Cations from Citycare Property share project highlights and future plans

“Initially, given the short lead time the Waitangi Day deadline gave, we had a much-reduced scope of works to complete,” says Brent. “The delay, unfortunate as it was, allowed more of the project’s vision to be realised and the Matariki celebrations provided the nationally significant backdrop that this project deserves.”

First steps towards a significant future

Site preparations included major earthworks, along with construction of retaining walls and Takarangi (double spiral) pathways that lead to the pou, which is centrally located. Founded on kaupapa Māori design concepts, the site features two main entry points with waharoa, interpretation panels, signage and a water element for cleansing.

Final touches such as timber detailing on the retaining walls and additional furniture installation are due to be carried out in the near future.

For an indepth article about the siginificance of Takapūneke Reserve and a video of the unveiling ceremony, click on the Stuff link.