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Plans revealed for Kaiti Hill-Titirangi

MAKING Kaiti Hill-Titirangi more pedestrian-friendly and improving protection of archaeological sites are just a few of the ideas laid out in the Titirangi Reserve Management Plan.

Gisborne District Council is seeking feedback on the plan, which outlines the next steps to restore the reserve in co-management with Ngati Oneone.

Proposals include a connecting track to Kaiti Beach, a new “home guard” track from the World War 2 barracks site to Queens Drive, making Titirangi Drive one-way, creating gathering areas from post-harvest sites, and improving interpretation and signage.

The public consultation comes after a long process of hui and stakeholder engagement, says the council’s planning and development group manager Nedine Thatcher-Swann.

Archaeological sites identifiedMany archaeological sites have been identified, including old pa sites, burial grounds, rolling gardens and terraces, and middens (historical rubbish areas).

Ms Thatcher-Swann says the council’s contractors have guidelines to work on around the sites but public input is sought on how they are preserved and featured in the future.

Ngati Oneone representative Nick Tupara says the plan is a way forward, recognising Ngati Oneone as the tangata whenua, first people, and giving them the opportunity to share that history and connection.

“It reflects quite a bit that needs to be done but it is a good platform.

“It acknowledges some heritage values that need to be considered, and it puts us in a good position to ensure them.”

These include from the early Maori and European settlers, the World War 2 efforts, and through to today.

He says the hill is “iconic” to the region.

“It is visible from all corners of the city and has watched over our region forever. It is part of our identity and is there for everybody to enjoy.”

He says while the hill needs to have access, Ngati Oneone would rather it be by foot than too many vehicles. These views are outlined in the proposal to make Titirangi Drive one-way, and new and upgraded trails that will allow pedestrians to circuit the hill and access Kaiti and the harbour safely.

Mr Tupara says these proposals will give a stronger asset back to the community, “a contemplative space for the city”.

“We hope to grow the spiritual nature, a place for people to walk and contemplate and be in touch with it all.”

In April and May last year 8.7 hectares of pine trees were harvested and in October more than 55,000 native plants were planted over 13ha of land in the first stages of the restoration project.

Mr Tupara says the native plants will not only keep the hill stable, but he hopes will become part of the “story”.

¦ A full copy of the management plan can be found on the council website. The feedback period is open and runs until June 24. There will be an on-site tour on June 18 and the next community day is in July.

Feedback can be submitted by email to titirangi.restoration@gdc.govt.nz, on the council website www.gdc.govt.nz or handed in directly to offices in Fitzherbert Street (until May 27, then to 39 Gladstone Road), H.B. Williams Memorial Library or Te Puia Springs.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES: The main pa (Titirangi Pa) site near the summit, highlighted in blue on the map, is the biggest pa in Turanganui. There are no visible remains but there is a high chance they are hidden underground. Around the World War 1 monument is evidence of terraces, middens and burial grounds, which have been damaged by erosion, tree growth and construction of the monument itself. The gun emplacement and barracks sites are marked on the map, and middens, terraces and pits are scattered around the port-side of the reserve. The council is working closely with Heritage New Zealand and Ngati Oneone, creating procedures for what work can be done and where it can be done, with or without the presence of an archaeological authority. These procedures have been put in place because of the layers of cultural, historic and archeological sites that have been discovered. Picture supplied