Special status sought for 'Canty's Waitangi'

Last updated 07:25 13/12/2012

SACRED: The picturesque Takapuneke site overlooking Akaroa Harbour.

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A historic Akaroa site called Canterbury's "Waitangi" may be given national reserve status.

The Christchurch City Council will ask the Government to grant the status, which marks it as nationally significant.

Akaroa's Takapuneke site, which was one of many Maori settlements around Akaroa Harbour, is considered to be of great cultural importance to Ngai Tahu.

It was an important centre for trade between Ngai Tahu and Pakeha in the early 19th century and was also the site of a massacre that led to the iwi moving away.

The site, which is made up of six land parcels, was classified as a historic reserve in 2008.

In 2009, a conservation report was commissioned by the city council to identify the cultural heritage values of the site and to assist with preparing a management plan.

"What we have here is the beginning of putting something right," Mayor Bob Parker said. "The events that took place at Takapuneke led to a series of events that culminated in the Treaty of Waitangi.

"We have a site here that is as important as that sacred site in the Bay of Islands, Waitangi.

"This is our Waitangi."

The council agreed to seek national reserve status for the site.

If the move succeeds, the site will join the Waitangi Treaty Grounds as the only historic sites with this status in New Zealand.

Akaroa-Wairewa Community Board chairwoman Pam Richardson said it was a "very special" site that needed a good management plan.

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- The Press


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