A blessing was held at Turangawaewae on the fine, frosty morning of Wednesday 23 August to mark the start of construction of the main site restoration works at the Marae.
The project which involves construction of a 3m wide concrete footpath, a new waka launch ramp, planting along the river frontage and bank stabilisation works is jointly funded by the Waikato River Authority, Waikato Tainui/Mercury partnership, Waikato Tainui Raupatu Trust and Waikato Regional Council. The main goal of this project is to reconnect the local community with the Waikato River by providing safe access for waka crews and the opportunity for safe cycle, pushchair and wheelchair access along the river bank.
Initial restoration plantings were completed two years ago and following a resource consent process, the construction of the footpath commenced on Wednesday.
The blessing was attended by the Waikato River Authority, Marae Trust representatives, Livingstone, Genesis, Mercury, Waikato Regional Council and Place Group. An Advisory Group consisting of representation from all these organisations has been working with Project Manager Michelle Archer (Place Group) over the last 18 months to deliver the project on behalf of the Turangawaewae Marae Trust Board.
Michelle Archer commented that “the site blessing was a celebration of the work carried out to date and marked the beginning of the heavy machinery phase of the project. We could not have got to this day without the support of the Waikato River Authority and the many hours of in-kind advice provided by the organisations on the Advisory Group.”
Livingstone expect the footpath construction to be completed by the end of August. The installation of the waka ramp and other bank protection works will be completed during summer once the Waikato River level recedes.
“Advisory Group” – The Advisory Group attend a site blessing prior to construction of the footpath at Turangawaewae Marae.
From left Pokaia Nepia (Tainui, TMTB), Lizana Tuake (Genesis), Don Scarlet (Mercury), Vinny Kingi (TMTB), Michelle Archer (Place Group), Russell Powell (Waikato Regional Council), Dale Arbury (Mercury).