A $300,000 celestial star compass called Tū Hawaiki, consisting of 32 carved pou, is a major part of the $1million plan at Waitangi. 


Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Environment and Services (E&S) Committee recommended today to commit

$311,000 to kick-start ambitious plans for a $1million enhancement of Waitangi Regional Park.

The long coastal park covers an area of 300 ha where numerous streams and rivers - Muddy Creek,  Karamu-Clive, Ngaruroro, Tutaekuri, Grange Creek and Tukituki River meet the sea. State Highway 2 runs through part of the wetland estuary, approximately 10 minutes drive from both Hastings and Napier.

Detailed concept plans for the transformation of Waitangi Regional Park include the construction of a celestial star compass, improved road access, a carpark, new wetland areas, public signs, pathways, coastal native plantings and more carefully managed vehicle access.

Councillors today recommended to contribute $311k from the Regional Open Space Reserve, with the balance of funding up to a combined total of $958k to come from other sources. Up to $305k would be raised through funding applications to agencies such as Lotto (Environment and Heritage), Eastern and Central Community Trust and local businesses. A portion of funds has already been raised in anticipation of this project going ahead in the 2016/17 financial year.

HBRC Councillors also recommended to establish a Waitangi Estuary Enhancement Committee, nominating Cr Dave Pipe to represent Council on that committee.

“The estuary enhancement at Waitangi will put a big star, literally, on this neglected but much used area of our foreshore, and create a space we can all be proud of,” says Cr Pipe.

“We drive past the estuary at Waitangi, mostly not realising the history and cultural meaning of this site for Māori and in reference to William Colenso, so we’re going to create a fitting gateway to our coastal areas and pay respect to our heritage,” adds Cr Pipe.

Phillip Smith, chairman of the charitable trust for the sailing waka Te Matau a Māui believes in this project so strongly that the trust has already raised $95k in its name towards the celestial star compass called Tū Hawaiki.

Consisting of 32 carved pou, the trust expects the compass to cost $310,000 to build.

“The celestial star compass is used to learn about the stars, sun and moon and is the main training tool for a traditional navigator, this tool is how our ancestors were able to navigate throughout the Pacific on sailing waka centuries ago. The Waitangi location is perfect for this star compass in terms of the Eastern horizon and the area is stepped in both Māori and European history. With all three councils having an interest in the surrounding land area we hope there will be support for this innovative educational resource as we would like schools and the general public to be able to understand the basic concepts of traditional Polynesian navigation and astronomy.”

The scope of improvement works have been developed and are supported by the New Zealand Transport Agency, MWH Consultants and Boffa Miskell Ltd in partnership with Te Matau a Maui Voyaging Trust. Regular public updates will be included as part of the project works.

Today’s decision is due to be further debated for confirmation during HBRC’s 16 December full council meeting.

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