Plans by two hapū of Ngāti Pikiao to expand their Wahanui urupā, or burial site, near Lake Rotoehu have received a boost thanks to a $36,000 grant from Transpower’s CommunityCare Fund.
The Wahanui urupā has been a culturally significant site for over a century. It represents the final resting place of many hapū (is this needed) members of Ngāti Tamateatutahi and Ngāti Kawiti.
A goal of both hapū has been to extend the urupā to ensure whanau can be buried close to their tūpuna, while improving access for those who visit.
“Cultural heritage is very important to us and defines our hapū identity,” Trustee of the Urupā Trust Davey Gardiner said.
“Our sites of cultural significance were shaped by our tūpuna (ancestors) and as kaitiaki (guardians) we have a duty to preserve these taonga tuku iho (cultural treasures). “
“The urupā is of particular significance as the resting place for many of our tūpuna and has been for several generations now. They might no longer be with us in a physical sense, but spiritually they are always here – we welcome them with every powhiri,” Mr Gardiner said.
The $36,000 from Transpower’s CommunityCare fund will go some way to help fund new concrete beams and berms to support new burial plots at Wahanui urupā.
“Transpower’s network is all about sustaining connections, so I’m delighted we were able to facilitate that connection for ngaa hapū of Ngāti Pikiao with this grant.” Transpower Stakeholder Engagement Manager Geoff Wishart said.
“In this case one of our transmission lines is literally just over the road from the urupā, and Ngāti Pikiao have been very gracious hosts for many years so it felt only right to contribute, “Mr Wishart said.
With the bulk of the funding for Wahanui urupā now secured, tenders will be reissued to update original quotes with a view to start work year.
Since inception of Transpower’s CommunityCare Fund in 2007 over 450 community projects around the country at a total value of nearly $10 million have been funded.
For further information please contact Davey Gardiner, Ngāti Pikiao on 027 3627606 or Geoff Wishart, Transpower on 021 574 877.