The pa site discovered during realignment of a portion of the road to Kaiteriteri will be turned into a public historic site.
The $900,000 realignment of Turners Bluff, Pukekoikoi, ground to a halt last December with the discovery of five pits by iwi monitors on the top of the bluff.
Analysis of the archaeological finds showed that Turners Bluff ‘‘was a site of dense occupation and there’s a lot of archaeological features, but few artefacts, that indicate it was a significant place of abode,’’ said David Watt, the central region area co-ordinator for the New Zealand Historic Places Trust at the time.
The existing road is between the bluff and the pa site and on a steep and eroding cliff bordering the sea, which meant there were limited options for realigning the road.
Tasman District Council, iwi, the private landowner and the Historic Places Trust have been in discussion since the discovery to find a solution to the road’s route.
This month the council’s engineering committee backed a proposal to route the two-lane road over the top of the bluff and behind the 2725-square-metre site and across a gully on the northern side.
Ngati Tama chairman Fred Te Miha said the discovery of the site and its preservation was ‘‘huge’’ for the area.
The pa pre-dated the arrival of many local iwi and illustrated there was well-organised occupation of this land long before the arrival of European people.
The site would be a very special place for future generations in terms of New Zealand history, he said.
NZHPT regional archaeologist David Rudd says the site is one of the few remaining pa sites in the Tasman District. He said from the archaeological evidence recovered it is possible to tell it would have featured a formidable palisade system with fighting platforms, storage pits, possible elevated storage structures, and a partially complete defensive ditch.
‘‘Samples have been taken for carbon dating to calculate the age of the pa. The results are not back yet. It seems likely that it will pre-date the Musket Wars.’’
The revised roading project would cost an estimated $1.46 million, including the cost of land and consents. However, the money would have to be found from existing budgets and no loans would be raised to cover the extension of work. The timing of the work would now depend on the consenting process.
Iwi asked that the site be preserved and the council purchase the land for a historical reserve.
The council’s transportation manager Gary Clark said he hoped that work on the road would restart before Christmas.
- (Live Matches)