Panels point to sights of Maori significance

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 09/08/2014

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An inner-city walkway's significance to local Maori was revealed in New Plymouth yesterday.

As part of the Te Ara Puawai project, initiated by Ngati Te Whiti hapu, four new panels along the Huatoki Walkway were blessed in a ceremony attended by about 30 people.

The Te Ara Puawai, or pathway to enlightenment, project aims to raise awareness about sites of Maori significance through signs at different points along the popular walkway, including one outside of Puke Ariki Museum.

Ngati Te Whiti hapu chairman Shaun Keenan said he was proud of the finished products, which had taken about two years to develop.

"I think it's an asset to the city. It's able to inform people of the history of the area," he said.

Keenan said a similar initiative had already been completed along the Henui Walkway.

"We have been educated ourselves as the project has evolved and we take a real sense of pride in sharing this history."

At each stop along with way, kaumatua Rangikotuku Rukuwai blessed the panels before he and New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd officially uncovered the designs.

Project manager Amokura Panoho also presented a brief overview about what each panel represented.

Both Panoho and Keenan said they hoped the storyboards offered something to the wider community as well.

"We encourage people to take the time to visit them and hopefully they will look at the Huatoki awa with new appreciation," Panoho said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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