Papawai Marae which is set to enter the New Zealand Heritage List. PHOTO/FILE

Wahi tipuna status to recognise ancestral significance of site

PAM GRAHAM
pam.graham@age.co.nz

Papawai Marae on Pah Rd, five kilometres east of Greytown, is to enter the New Zealand Heritage List with a wahi tupuna classification.

The list identifies New Zealand’s significant and valued historical and cultural heritage places and is maintained by Heritage New Zealand.

Wahi tupuna identify places that are important to Maori for their ancestral significance, and their associated cultural and traditional values.

The marae at Waitangi was the first place to receive the classification.

The marae’s entry on the list will take effect from July 22, according to a public notice.

Pikitia Tuuta, the chairperson of the Papawai Marae Trustees, said they have just been notified but did not want to talk further about it at the moment.

A draft proposal included a history of the marae, including during the colonial era when huis attended by thousands of people were held.

Papawai has a unique collection of whakapakoko.

The figures carved and erected in 1904 originally stood atop posts mounted around the perimeter and represented leading rangatira of the hapu, iwi, and wider district including Nukupewapewa, Ngatuere, and Te Wharepouri.

One represented the early settler William Mein Smith. Uniquely, the whakapakoko stood facing inwards towards the marae to represent peace and unity, rather than outwards in a defensive stance as is typical.

Entry to the list does not equal automatic protection or create regulatory consequences or legal obligations on property owners and does not create specific rights or control over property, according to Heritage NZ.

It can provide heritage funding opportunities such as from the National Heritage Preservation Incentive Fund, and can lead to heritage properties being considered for inclusion in district plan heritage schedules.