EPISODE SUMMARY: On this episode of Indigenous Urbanism we visit Rangiriri Pā, and the site of a new symbolic reinterpretation developed in reverence to the original pā footprint, and as a setting for continued education about the Battle of Rangiriri and the subsequent invasion of the Waikato.
GUESTS: Moko Tauriki, Dean Whiting, Sam Bourne
Jade Kake: If you look over to your right on State Highway 1, about 45 minutes north of Hamilton, you’ll see a site of cultural and historical significance. The wetlands and Pou mark the site of a pivotal battle in the 1863 Waikato land wars - The Battle of Rangiriri.
Dean Whiting: So where we're standing at the moment, Rangiriri Pā, so this was the pā that, where one of the major battles, Waikato-Tainui and the British troops that were coming through from Auckland. So there were a series of battles that happened down that line.
JK: In more modern times the significance of the site was overshadowed by the expansion of State Highway 1.
DW: There was a huge cutting through the space, that cut right through the centre of the Pā site.
JK: But now a collaboration between Waikato-Tainui, the New Zealand Transport Agency, and Heritage New Zealand has seen the repatriation of this significant site.
Sam Bourne: When the opportunity came up to re-align State Highway one, that also opened up this opportunity to reimagine and acknowledge the damage that had been done in the past to the pā site, but also make that lineal infrastructure in service to that cultural landscape, and the story of Rangiriri, and the story of the battle that took place there.
JK: Tēnā koutou katoa
Nau mai haere mai ki te Indigenous Urbanism, Aotearoa Edition, Episode 12.
I’m your host Jade Kake and this is Indigenous Urbanism, stories about the spaces we inhabit, and the community drivers and practitioners who are shaping those environments and decolonising through design.
On this episode of Indigenous Urbanism we visit historic Rangiriri Pā, and the site of a new symbolic reinterpretation developed in reverence to the original pā footprint, and as a setting for continued education about the Battle of Rangiriri and the subsequent invasion of the Waikato.
We spoke with Moko Tauariki nō Ngati Naho, who was the Waikato-Tainui lead for the Project.
Kia ora Moko. Thank you so much for agreeing to be on the podcast. Just to start off with, ko wai koe? nō hea koe?
Moko Tauariki: Ko Taupiri te maunga, Waikato te awa, Waikato te iwi, Tainui te waka, Mourea te marae, Ngāti Naho te hapū, ko Moko Tauariki taku ingoa.
JK: Rangiri is a really significant site for Waikato and for all of New Zealand. Could you tell us a little bit about the significance of that site to your hapū and to your wider iwi?
MT: The significance of Rangiriri to Ngāti Naho, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Pou, Ngāti Mahut - Ngāti Mahuta ki uta - is that it's a place where many of our ancestors stood in defiance of an imminent invasion by the Crown, and basically made their sacrifices there. And so, it's significant to us today because we are actually the kaitiaki that takiwa, of that place, now. Which has been, I guess since the invasion of Rangiriri in 1863, has been under the ownership and the administration, if you like, of the Crown, right up until 2016 when we actually had that particular site handed back to Waikato-Tainui. The invasion into Waikato begins, if you like, at Mercer. That we currently know as Te Pina. And it's probably appropriate for me to focus a little bit on Te Pina, in terms of its significance to Te Puia. And so Te Puia, for many people would know her as the lady who established a cultural kapa haka group called Te Pou o Mangatawhiri. And that group was named after a significant that King Tawhiao did, prior to the invasion of Rangiriri, and he did that on the banks of a stream called the Mangatawhiri stream, which basically is a tributary to the Waikato river. And that became our aukati, or our landmark, and basically signalled to the Crown that you go past this particular landmark, where I have placed my pou, then you declare war. You declare an invasion into Waikato. And so in 1863, General Duncan Cameron, under the orders of Governor Grey, said, well up yours natives, we are the much superior power than you, so we will take this land by force. We challenge you to be rebellious against the Queen of England, and the inception of the Kīngitanga was certainly a threat to that. And so in the month of July, and in actual fact it was on the 12th of July of 1863, Te Pine, or Mercer, was invaded. They then continued to sack, or to invade, occupy other pā sites towards Rangiriri, and in particular Te Tiotio Pā, Te Koheroa Pā, and Meremere Pā. So these are all locations that anybody driving between Auckland and Rangiriri, they would naturally drive past these sites, without a second thought even knowing where they are. The reality is the proximity of where their vehicles is to some of these pā sites, is less than thirty metres. And that's how close it is. We get to Rangiriri in the month of November, the 20th of November, which is when that site was invaded, 1863. Essentially the British tried to take the site by force, were repelled, on several occasions. They then brought some gunships up on the river, that was the only mode of transport, and then decided to bombard their way through, which they essentially did in the end. Rangiriri wasn't just a fort hold, that was held by Waikato-Tainui alone. King, the second Māori King, King Tawhiao, he called on the allegiance of many iwi, all the iwi, from around the motu. He called on that allegiance because his father, the first Māori King Potatau Te Wherowhero, cemented those relationships in a place called Pūkawa, in Taupō. The big event that took place there was called Hinana ki Uta, Hinana ki Tai - search the seas, search the lands, for a king. And on the banks of Pūkawa is where all the rangatira, all the chiefs from around the motu, agreed that Potatau will be King. And then in 1863, Tawhiao was the King, and he called on that allegiance. And so, not all of those iwi came, many of the came. And so Rangiriri is significant to many iwi who actually have ancestors that have actually died there. So, Waikato, our role, we are merely the kaitiaki of that place, to ensure that significance of that particular site, the mauri of that particular site, is retained at the highest level. In 1963, the Crown wanted to build a road. Well they did, they just built their road. The consultation they undertook at that time was nothing more than, this is a piece of paper, it's called the Public Works Act. It says that we can actually do this. And so they used that piece of legislation to just ram through their infrastructure projects, and that's basically how New Zealand, is basically founded, if you like, on that piece of legislation alone, allowing them to do what they needed to do. Our iwi were very opposed to it at the time, signalling, bringing to the Crown's attention that this particular site here at Rangiriri, is a wāhi tapū, and that it shouldn't be messed with. They just said, well, we need to build this road for the public good, so, thank you very much for that -
JK: Too bad Māoris
MT: Yep, too bad Māoris, but we're going to carry on. Koiwi were discovered during the construction phase of that project. We're quite thankful that we had some very significant rangatira still alive at the time, and one of them in particular for Ngāti Maniapoto. His name is Pumi Taituha. And so he was responsible for overseeing the gathering up of those koiwi that were discovered, and returning them back to Taupiri Mountain, our sacred burial mountain, and reburying them there at the rightful place. Because after the Battle of Rangiriri, our people weren't afforded those protocols of having a tangi, they were just simply put over to where was going to be less in the way, if you like, of the colonial troops at that time. And so if they were over in the particular area in the pā site, then they just simply just buried them up and left them there. And then, 2008, the New Zealand Transport Agency, or Transit New Zealand they were called back then, wanted to improve the safety of the State Highway 1 road, and they had identified an alternative route. One of the first things that they said to themselves is that, we better look at how we do this, approach tangata whenua. And so this time, they never lodged a resource consent to build their road. What they decided to do this time around, was actually come and talk to the iwi first. And so, they actually spent near on nearly two years talking with us at Waikato-Tainui, before they even lodged a resource consent for their project. Which is pretty good. And I guess part of their reasoning for that is that they knew that we were going to be very resistant to their plans to build another road through a significant wāhi tapū site. The way and how we worked, we worked in partnership with the New Zealand Transport Agency on that particular project. I set up what's called a tangata whenua working group. And that tangata whenua working group was made up of representatives from the key marae from around that area. Namely, Mourea Marae, Horahora Marae, Waikare Marae, Taniwha Marae, Okaeria Marae. We had māngai from all of those marae, and they were responsible for conveying directly to the agency, their concerns and their views. Which is not typically how some of these things are done. But that's what our CEO at the time, his name was Hemi Rau, that's what he wanted to happen. Sometimes I think the Crown thinks that they should just talk only to the iwi consortium or the so-called iwi authority that's currently in place. That they actually hold the say, but in actual fact that's not the case. The case is that, down in Rangiriri for example, my marae and our other whānau marae, we have the last say, what happens there, and not the iwi authority. So we work in with the iwi authority, it supports us, and we support it, but at the end of the day, they wanted, it was the iwi that wanted the marae to have a greater say. The mana motukahetanga and the tino rangatiratanga of our own area. Probably the biggest outcome, for that particular project, was that we wanted the agency, or the Crown, to recognise and acknowledge their hara, or their faults, their mistakes. One of the directions that the late Māori queen left with the kaumātua, back in the 60s when that road was being, when the old State Highway 1 was being built, was when the day comes to restore or to repatriate that particular site, then do it. And so in 2008, that opportunity presented itself.
We also spoke with Sam Bourne, a landscape architect and urban designer for the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Sam Bourne: So my name is Sam Bourne, I'm the Principal Advisor for Urban Design Landscape at the Transport Agency. I also had a previous role on the Rangiriri Project as the Project Landscape Architect, when I was working at Boffa Miskell Limited.
JK: How did you get involved in the first place?
Boffa Miskell was engaged during the consenting phase of the Rangiriri section of the Waikato Expressway, so early on I was coming in as a technical expert on the project, supporting my colleague John Goodwin, at the time. So John was preparing the landscape and visual assessment for the highway corridor, and my job was to support that assessment in the landscape planning and design space, developing up an urban design landscape framework for the corridor, linking in with the cultural and environment landscape issues that tied in with the highway project.
JK: And something about this project obviously really captured you, because you've seen it through for 11 years and across two different roles. Which is quite unusual.
SB: Yeah, well, the project is a very special project. Both from a relationship perspective, between the Transport Agency and Waikato-Tainui, but also from an outcomes perspective, in terms of this really important cultural landscape, and this site for Waikato-Tainui, but also for all New Zealand. It's a key part of our history, and the New Zealand Wars history, and it all really starts at Rangiriri. It's something that I feel quite passionate about in terms of trying to get the message out around that history, and that landscape.
JK: And so to kind of understand where we are, and who we are, at this point in time - both for people in the Waikato and from Waikato-Tainui, but for people of Aotearoa in general, we really have to understand this pivotal point. This project as a landscape interpretation, is an opportunity to remember the past, understand what happened, but also look forward together towards the future.
SB: Yeah, that's exactly right. And that really touches on a key part of Te Puia's proverb.
MT: Me ka moemoeā au, ko au anake; Me ka moemoeā tātou, ka taea e tātou. Which says, if I am to dream, then only I will share in that dream, alone. But if we all dream together, then we will all share in that same dream together. The project was always about trying to whakahua whakatinana the learnings and the whakatauki of Te Puia. That particular statement has been the driver and the baseline of the relationship between the tangata whenua, Waikato-Tainui, NZTA, and it's partners. Throughout the whole of the project. And when we found ourselves sort of not agreeing - there were lots of times when we didn't agree in the room, on a whole range of things. But we accepted some of their noes and they accepted some of our yeses, and so we felt that it was an opportunity to also repatriate the relationship that should have transpired, because that's what Te Tiriti o Waitangi was designed to do, was to live together, work together, share those resources together. We try to breathe life into that particular agreement between the Crown and tangata whenua.
SB: And that's really, I guess, the cornerstone of the project is this co-design model, and this collaborative model. Both at the governance level but also in the way the project was planned and designed, and delivered as well. I guess the really important thing with this project, is we're looking at the adaptive re-use of a historic site, and so what that brings in is archaeological science, cultural values and associations with the site, and the battle, and the actual pā itself. The ICOMOS New Zealand charter, which is around the adaptive re-use of historic sites. And what that requires us to think through, is all of those layers of history.
JK: We also spoke with Dean Whiting, nō Te Whānau a Apanui, Māori Heritage Manager at Heritage New Zealand.
Dean Whiting: Ko Dean Whiting tōku ingoa, nō Te Whānau a Apanui, i mahi ahau ki te Tare o te Pouhere Taonga, Heritage New Zealand. Yeah, I work at Heritage New Zealand. I work in a Māori team there that does a lot of work in terms of preserving taonga, whare, but also looking at the preservation of sites, and in the case that we're talking about today, how you realise those sort of Māori concepts and values to preserve the kōrero around a place. So, quite a broad role within Heritage New Zealand, but it all ties together with that kaupapa of supporting our people really, in looking after their taonga.
JK: Your role and the work of Heritage New Zealand seems impossibly vast, and I'm just wondering if you could explain, for somebody who's not familiar with the work that your team does, what are some of the practical ways that you work directly with Māori communities on their projects.
DW: I guess, and this is across our team, it's firstly about recognising places like that. And that's, we talked about the listing as a wāhi tapū of Rangiriri. And then, it's from that basis, you know, you're ensuring that the wider community - New Zealand - actually recognises somewhere, and they can see that their is value and importance in something. So that's always the first part of it. When you're sort of engaging in that cross community space. And of course there's other ways of doing that, but, what was then done here, and how we take it forward, I think is quite unique in a way. Particularly because of the direction and drive of the iwi in terms of where they wanted to take it. And in and amongst a massive roading project that you're able to create a sense of memory really, and important marker in the landscape. You're able to bring that back again, I think is what's been achieved and will be achieved even in different ways in the future. So, I guess our role is in supporting that, and I think that's probably what I'd stress most out of it. So we bring different skills that can be applied in that space, so it's everything from the planning space, in this case design work, and just ways of reinterpreting history that engages in a different way.
JK: So, at what stage in the process did you get involved?
DW: Probably, because there's been two phases to reinterpreting this site, and this was probably around, I think it was about 2010. And that was when the roading project was maybe in its initial phases of development, and there was talk about the reconstruction of the missing part of the pā. But, at that time, Heritage New Zealand actively managing the reserve. And wanted to better reinterpret. Because basically there was just a sign there that said Rangiriri Pā. And that was it. Yeah, was here, and didn't really give any information or give a sense of the importance of the site. Through a process of listing the site on our national register as a wāhi tapū, that was probably the first set. And then the second part was, reinterpreting in a way that involved Waikato-Tainui, in fact they would lead the development of those ideas. So that's where we developed the first area, which is the tohu maumahara, and that's the small whare over here that's carved, to the North of the site. And that was really the first stage in the project. So that was really to give another sense of how you mark a site, rather than bronze plaques that say, Rangiriri Pā. And the often, the way of describing how many cannons were there, and how many bullets were fired, and how many people died. It was more about trying to express those, from a cultural perspective, what a battle like this meant, what were the effects of that as well. So that's where the tohu maumahara was the first part of expressing history from a Māori context and in a Māori way.
JK: That's so interesting, because I think we've been so accustomed to things like war memorials around the world, but particularly in this country, and we see them, you, a certain way. We have certain expectations, and it's just really, I guess, reimagining what that can be like, if you're actually coming from a Māori cultural perspective, and thinking well, what did this battle signify for the people here, and what is it we're really wanting to remember.
DW: Because, you know, each of those tīpuna who were here, those that have died or where part of it, they were part of a, not only a matrix of hapū from Waikato-Tainui, but there was a much broader support from other iwi, here. And of course, of the establishment of the Kīngitanga, you had a sort of political and tribal identity, I suppose, connection in terms of what they were defending. It wasn't only land, it was mana, and that sort of intimate connection with wairua, and whenua, and whakapapa. You somehow have to encapsulate or gesture towards those sorts of aspects of culture, rather than talking about just the names of personalities, and the way we often describe histories. So, that was a way of trying to do that. But of course, I mean, you unlock that kōrero in structures like that really through the kōrero of people speaking, the people from here connecting with visitors, manuhiri to the site. So, that's a key element. Even though they can stand as reminders and sort of a focus to memorialise things, really the key part of it is really for Waikato-Tainui to express that through a living language, a living history. There's a whole modern tribal identity, and these things need to connect and be expressed in that sort of way. Rather than historians or organisations like Heritage New Zealand describing those in a sort of past tense.
JK: I think that's a really important point to stress, because yes, it is looking at how do we look after our taonga and protect our sites of significance, but it's also how do we continue to have a living relationship into the future.
DW: Yeah that's right. There's all sorts of ways. We've got all the digital tools these days, which are amazing, but there's always that whole experiential thing that we still need to tap in as people, as human beings, we need to engage all of our senses and our sense that we're in a space that has a connection to history. And that's why sites are so powerful in doing that, and when you couple that with the descendants of that story, then it's extremely powerful in shaping our thinking around how we deal with conflict, and all the social things that are brought out in events like this. So, I think that sense of place, but that experience of place is really important. So that's what's been attempted here, is to try and connect in some new ways, both culturally, both in terms of landscape, design, and blending some of those things together to manifest in an interpretation like this.
JK: Now I wonder, if maybe we should just do a bit of a walk and talk.
DW: Yeah we'll start, here's good. It's really important actually, how we've arrived here. Cause we've parked our cars to the south of this main entranceway, this waharoa. And there's a particular purpose for that, because before this work was done, you used to visit the site from the northern side. So you basically park you car in the cutting off the main highway. But we thought, it's better if actually that you come under the protection of the pā. So you actually come in in the back, in a sense. And you approach it -
JK: Rather than being an enemy or a threat
DW: Rather than affronting the site. So we gave that sense for our manuhiri that they were welcomed into the space in that way. The other thing is, it also took away having lots of carparks at the main front of the site. So visually you were trying to remove some of that clutter if you like. Cause often we, you know we have these sites, and then we go and put a big carpark in and all you see is the backs of cars, and maybe what you're trying to look at behind it. It was really important to put that far enough away that it was not interfering too much visually with the site, but also to give that sense of arriving in the right way [/14.19]
JK: Who were the carvers that worked on this project?
DW: The main carver was Warren McGrath, and Moko will be able to tell you more about Warren's involvement, and what that meant.
MT: The carvers, for the pou whenua, the principle designer for all of those pou, his name was Inia Te Wiata. Very well known master carver for our iwi. Passed away just last month. Big huge tangi. Inia Te Wiata. And for the tewhatewha, was one of our own, Warren McGrath, from Ngāti Raukawa, from Parawera Marae. So he carved those tewhatewha. He also carved the tohu maumahara, and he also carved the waharoa. So, his contributions up there, from Raukawa, is significant.
DW: You'll see that he's brought in Tainui waka style of carving.
JK: That’s Dean again.
DW: Which is really important, that it's localised, it belongs to here. So that was a really important part of the process, that he was able to embellish in a way that was specific to this area. So as we've come through the waharoa, or the tomokanga, we're in, you'll see a number of shapes on the ground already. These are what they call outer works, which were other defended areas, and we thought it was actually important not just to have the main focus of the pā there, but to show the extent of the site as well. So there's one further to the south, towards the carpark where we've just come, and the one where we're standing now, which surrounds the waharoa entrance area.
MT: We've designed it like that, specifically, to reflect the design of what the trenches looked like in 1863.
JK: That’s Moko again
MT: So we want people to sort of get an appreciation of the engineering nous, if you like, of our tūpuna. And in particular, the two key engineers of that site were Te Uriuri, Ngāti Koro ki Kahukura, and Te Wharepū, and Te Wharepū is Ngāti Mahuta, but spent a lot of time up north in Ngāti Hine. We took the trench idea from Ruapekapeka, because Ruapekapeka is fashioned around the bats, the sheer holes or the caves that it lived in in the ground. Ngāpuhi, Te Tai Tokerau, experienced raupatu well before Waikato did. And so it made sense for us to use that engineering, their engineering brilliance, to help aid us with our engineering tactics down here in Waikato. So that's why the two pou that we have up at Rangiriri - we actually have eight of them up there at the moment. Oh no, six of them up there at the moment. But the front two pou that we have up there, one is dedicated to Te Uriuri, and the other one is dedicated to Te Wharepū, and acknowledges the northern tribes' contribution to Rangiriri. Not just through the engineering nous that they gave, but through the rangatira and tūpuna ancestors that they sent down from up north, to Rangiriri, and the sacrifices that they made. That was the allegiance that Tamati Waka Nene cemented in Pūkawa, when he went to the hui in 1857, Hinana ki Uta Hinana ki Tai. He was the māngai at the time for Ngāpuhi, and so his name is etched on the rock, on the banks of Pūkawa.
JK: How were you able to figure out where the Pā had been previously?
SB: The archaeologist on the project was Warren Gumley, and he was fantastic to work with.
JK: That's Sam again.
SB: and him and his team did what they call ground penetrating radar, which drags a radar across the ground to see where the disturbances in the land was. So what were were able to do is actually located, geographically, in the landscape, where the original pā footprint was. And so by using this ground penetrating radar technique, we were able to geolocate the trench, and then using the British military survey, which was taken just directly after the battle, which is essentially a beautiful scale drawing on the pā, drawn by the British army surveyors. We were able to overlay that on the landscape to find out which pieces of the trench complex had actually been lost through the historic highway construction. We were able to understand where the new and old would join, and what that might look like if we reinterpreted it.
DW: The British troops, their Engineers were really interested in the construction of the Pā -
JK: That’s Dean again.
DW: because it had repelled a thousand odd of their troops was defended by a few hundred Māori who were here. So they were interested in the engineering of the pā. So they actually produced some detailed plans of the pā, which are archived. From the 1860s those plans still survive, and that enabled the re-interpretation of the pā with a lot of accuracy.
SB: During that sort of the process, that revealing of what was the landscape, and the pā.
JK: That’s Sam again.
SB: We went through a bunch of optioneering around how we could reinterpret this place. So, putting the land back and filling in where the previous State Highway had gone was kind of the number one thing. Then it was, how do we actually acknowledge the pā that was there and the earthworks that were there. So we went through a series of options. The first option was to recreate, so imagine recreating to scale the original earthworks. The second option was to use artworks to trace the alignment, and evoke a sense of scale. And then the third option, which I think was the more interesting option, was this idea of a thematic footprint into the land. And that footprint would be a direct tracing of the British military survey and how it relates to the remnants of the pā. So, we ended up going with the thematic footprint in the landscape. Some of the technical issues in around recreating the original pā to scale sat with people being able to access it, and safe from falling and those sort of things. And because the existing pā still exists, having the old and new so closely related may actually have been negative, have a negative effects in terms of how people interpret that space, and what is a remnant and what is the new part of the pā. And you get this juxtaposition, and it also acknowledge the fact that some of the pā was damaged without hiding any of that as well. Because it's a really important thing to think about, a certain time we actually put a road through the middle of the site, and how we have then worked in partnership to try and heal that.
DW: So wherever you see the red sort of upstands of timber is actually the lines that were on those plans.
JK: That’s Dean again
DW: And you can see the colours are different as well. The parts i just talked about, the red areas, the red outlines. And those have been infilled with loose material. That's what the original earthwork shapes were. Where you see the ramps, and probably the grey concrete pathway areas, this is simply the access for visitors to the site. So you try to delineate between the two things. So where we see the ramps and the pathways like that, you know it's just purely for access. So it just brings you up onto the site again. This is another, where we're going up onto this ramp here, is really another staging point, I guess to again, just sort of pause, and then look towards the site to the north, the main site, before you actually embark on actually going into the -
JK: Oh well, let's do it then.
DW: Let's go. So we've walked up the path to the North and now we're actually on the main spine or the parapet of the Pā site. If we look to the east, this earthworks structure actually went to the lake, so it was basically a defensive line that went from both bodies of water, from the Waikato river, over to the lakes.
Sam Bourne: So I guess one of the really interesting things that came out of the early analysis as part of the urban design landscape framework.
JK: That's Sam again.
SB: Was the strategic nature of the Pā, and that watery landscape. And what I mean by that, is it really sits in this higher land between the Waikato River and Lake Kopuera. The auspicious location of that pā site was tactically chosen to be this barrier, or this line of defence against future invasion by the British.
JK: It's really interesting, the way the location was chosen, because, I mean a lot of pā sites that people may be familiar with are on elevated locations, on maunga. And this one, well the landscape looks quite flat. But if you look at it in plan, and think about the location of the water, then it really starts to make sense, as a defensive location.
SB: That's exactly right, because you're in this lowland environment, which is really inaccessible, because it's wetlands, and the river, and so just this slight raise in topography.
DW: And what we're looking at now, is the, so these tewhatewha -
JK: That's Dean again.
DW: These weapons actually stand up, and they create the volume or space that that parapet used to occupy. So as I was talking about earlier, we couldn't actually rebuild the size and shape in earth again, but we were able to give a spatial sense of the size of it, by using the tewhatewha to indicate that. So that’s why they’re on an angle as well.
So the tewhatewha are of course an important symbol of a chief. This was a battle fought with guns, with weapons. These are symbolic of the mana of the chief, Tawhiao, but we've sort of incorporated elements of guns on them as well, so you've got the gun metal upstand, or the shaft of the tewhatewha, and a reference also in the we use a bit of brass to reflect that modern technology of that time.
MT: And also the tewhatewha, the big massive tewhatewha that are up there, those represent the preferred weapon, if you like, that Waikato used in times of old.
DT: Yeah, so what we've been walking past is just references to Matariki, so the constellations. So we've got the different names of the different ngā whetū of Matariki. Which of course is an important symbol within the Kīngitanga, so that’s been embedded into the surface here.
MT: And the names of the Matariki that are on the footpath there, represents the connection that tangata whenua, Māori have to the stars. But our connection to the hunga wairua, and te ao wairua, is another world that we can actually link into, tap into, and appreciate the learnings from them also. That's part of the teaching, and part of the reasoning why we've got those names of Matariki.
JK: It really blew me away just to understand how many layers of meaning are embedded in this project, because it's a lot more than you might notice on first glance. There's these cues where you kind of want to know what that's about, and I think that would be the real value when you have somebody who's from here showing you around, is that you're able to be curious, and investigate, and respond to those visual cues.
DW: Yeah, that's right, and those are all things that are best expressed and carried, like you say, from the people from here.
MT: So right now we're just taking people on guided tours and giving them the history.
JK: That’s Moko again
MT: And most of them are schools, high schools, primary schools, but also tertiary institutions. So, I just recently took the University of Waikato, and Wintec, and Te Wānanga o te Aotearoa, they bring through about 1000 students every year, and have been for the last four years. Four, five years actually. And they have some big groups. Even a lot of our own people never really understood, had even been to Rangiri. And they live literally less than ten kilometres away from it. But had never been there, never knew anything about it, until NZTA started this project. I didn't know anything about Rangiriri until this project actually started, which was back in 2008. So that's like ten years ago. Not to what I know now. I knew Rangiriri was over there, I knew it as a pā site, but really didn't know how significant it was to the Kīngitanga, and even to other iwi. And so that's probably been the most fascinating part for me, was learning about it's significance to other iwi. Whenever I'm there, I usually ask people, who's from different iwi, and then I can connect them. And so whenever I have other iwi there, I really enjoy telling them that this is part of you as well, this is actually your toto, is actually in the bosom of this whenua.
JK: Indigenous Urbanism is a production of Te Matapihi. Sandy Wakefield does our sound recording, editing, and mixing. Our theme was composed by Thomas Burton. I’m Jade Kake, your host and Executive Producer.
For more information about today’s show and other episodes of Indigenous Urbanism go to indigenousurbanism.net. You can drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you like what you’re hearing, please give us a review or rating on iTunes.
Coming up next on Indigenous Urbanism, we speak with Kevin O’Brien, an indigenous architect practicing in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Kevin belongs to the Meriam and Kaurareg peoples of the Torres Strait, a group of islands located in north-eastern Australia.
Kevin O’Brien: If the building is at one end of the scale of action, at the other end is how we start to look at the city, as a much bigger thing. What's a city look like if you start with important things in Country and said, well actually that thing can't be built on or over, and you may build around it, or beside it, but not across it. If we know there's something in some part of the city that needs to be not restored, and not conserved, it has to extended, then I think in a way it's almost recovered. The ceremonies and rituals and social settings that need to occur with it, then become the things that generate the new form of an imagined city.