Iwi name bridge Awanui

The Pelorus River bridge built by Marlborough businessman Peter Yealands linking Te Hoiere Rd to Kaiuma Bay Rd has been named Awanui.

Te Tau Ihu (top of the south) iwi Ngati Kuia community development manager Raymond Smith said Mr Yealands had consulted the iwi about cultural or environmental impacts after the planning stages of the subdivision had been approved in 2007.

Being involved in the process, including naming rights of the bridge, helped re-establish iwi connection with the land, Mr Smith said.

"He wanted to include us in the process, even though it wasn't a requirement. He saw us working together as more productive than not involving us at all."

Ngati Kuia is the Te Tau Ihu iwi that settled in Te Hoiere, the Pelorus River area.

Awanui means big river, and refers to the wide channel of the Pelorus River on one side of Twidles Island. The channel on the other side is narrower and is called Awaiti (Little River).

Ngati Kuia call the river, including the estuary, Te Hoiere, the name of Ngati Kuia's original ancestor's canoe.

Mr Yealands built the bridge over the Pelorus River north of Havelock, last year, to shorten the drive to his Kaiuma Park Estate development in the Marlborough Sounds. He officially handed over responsibility of the bridge and Kaiuma Bay Rd to the Marlborough District Council last week.

He also announced his decision to find another developer to take over the project, which has failed to gain momentum because of the economic downturn. Mr Smith said he hoped the Kaiuma Park Estate would eventually go ahead.

The Marlborough Express