Expressway would affect historic sites

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 14:40 13/11/2012
Kapiti Expressway
The Kapiti Expressway route at Raumati, where it veers off from the existing SH1.

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The Historic Places Trust and Takamore Trustees have strongly opposed the proposed Kapiti expressway running through a registered wahi tapu area just north of Waikanae River.

Presenting a submission to a board of inquiry hearing today, lawyer Aleyna Hall, acting for the Historic Places Trust, said the proposed McKays to Peka Peka section on the expressway would physically sever the Takamore wahi tapu (sacred) area between two significant wahi tapu - a Maketu tree and the Takamore urupa (burial site).

The proposed expressway would also run through a Ngahuruhuru cultivation and battle area and the Tukurakau village, the trust said.

"These sites will be affected by the construction of the expressway and it is very likely that archaeological material will be discovered," Ms Hall said.

The trust opposed New Zealand Transport Agency consent applications to build the expressway through the wahi tapu area, but supported the remainder of the proposed road.

"The Takamore wahi tapu area is a major part of the Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai ancestral landscape ... the relationship of Whakarongotai with their remnant places, such as Takamore wahi tapu area, are of great significance ... and are of national importance to New Zealand's history and heritage."

The record of urupa (burial grounds) highlighted the spiritual, religious and ritual values in the wahi tapu area, with human remains found on the western edge of the area.

A distinctive macrocarpa tree, known as the Maketu, was planted on the grave of Whanganui chief Maketu.

The trust said the expressway did not meet the provisions of the Kapiti Coast District Council plan and the Wellington Regional Council policy statement in regard to heritage objectives.

The wetland area connecting the tree and the Takamore urupa would be destroyed, the trust said.

Acting for Takamore Trustees, Leo Watson said the trustees accepted the designation in general but had consistently taken the position that the adverse effects on their cultural wellbeing, ancestral lands and wahi tapu could not be adequately mitigated by various proposals put forward by NZTA.

"Takamore Trustees are staggered by [NZTA's] view that their proposal would enable cultural wellbeing. It has left a sense of cultural alienation," Mr Watson said.

Takamore submitters acknowledged constructive communication had taken place with NZTA. The agency had managed to design the expressway route to skirts the urupa.

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Save Kapiti also presented their submission favouring upgrading State Highway 1 and retaining the long-planned two-lane Western Link Rd on roughly the same route as the expressway.

The hearing continues tomorrow.        

Related stories:

Kapiti expressway four lane plan surprises lobbyists

Kapiti expressway: the story so far

Contact Kay Blundell
Kapiti reporter
Email: kay.blundell@dompost.co.nz

- The Dominion Post

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