Work is due to get underway next week on a long-awaited 1,000-year bridge to connect Tītīrangi/Kaiti Hill and Puhi Kai Iti/Cook Landing site, Gisborne District Council has announced.
The open-air pedestrian bridge will be 6.3 metres above Kaiti Beach Road, shaped and carved to look like a waka, with a Te Maro viewing platform.
The bridge will offer views of Turanganui-a-Kiwa, from where navigators arrived here by canoe, waka, and ship over the past 1,000 years, said Mayor, Rehette Stoltz.
“As you walk along this footbridge, the story of how our region evolved will be told to take you back across the last 1,000 years,” she said.
“It’s also important to bring the cone of vision back to this historical site so Te Kuri a Paoa/Young Nicks Head can be seen.”
Mayor Stoltz says the memorial Puhi Kai Iti used to have a view of Turanganui-a-Kiwa and Te Kuri a Paoa. However, over the past 100 years, buildings have blocked that view.
“This bridge brings it back and tells our story,” the Mayor said.
The project – between Ngati Oneone and Gisborne District Council – has been in the pipeline for around six years as part of the Tairāwhiti Navigations Project and was initially planned for the Tuia 250 commemorations.
The bridge will link tracks on the maunga to walkways around the Inner Harbour, which lead to either walkways and cycleways to Kaiti and Wainui or to Kiwa Pools and the town beaches.
It’s being externally funded with a Lotteries Grant of $3.1 million ($2.68 million for the bridge and $389,000 for the Te Maro platform), and a Trust Tairāwhiti grant of $343,000.
Mayor Stoltz thanked Ngati Oneone, who she said had driven the kaupapa to restore the area.
Ngati Oneone Chair, Charlotte Gibson says iwi have been instrumental in the transformation of Puhi Kai Iti, Te Maro, Hirini Street Urupa, Kopuawhakapata awa, Tupapa (with Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga a Mahaki) and the restoration of Tītīrangi, supported strongly by Council.
“Ngati Oneone, as mana whenua, have stories that need to be told in their domain.”
Ms Gibson says the project to restore the top of Tītīrangi – called Te Panuku Tū – was first mooted by Ngati Oneone and started with the removal of the Captain Cook statue and the observatory.
“Panuku Tū has two purposes. To recognize that once Māori lived atop of Tītīrangi and it’s a space where those purakau (traditional form of Māori narrative) can be told from an amazing vantage point.”
In 2021, the site was officially blessed by Chair Gibson supported by Council’s Senior Māori Engagement Officer Walton Walker.
The 1,000-year bridge is one of five projects planned to revitalise the Inner Harbour and Tītīrangi area.
Completed projects include the Puhi Kai Iti / Cook Landing Site, Inner Harbour development, Tītīrangi maunga restoration and Tupapa: Our Stand. Our Story.
Once the 1,000-year bridge is complete, the only project outstanding will be Te Panuku Tū Whare/Tītīrangi Summit.
Mayor Stoltz says external funding is still being sought for the Te Panuku Tū Whare project, which has been priced in the vicinity of $6 million.
For more information on these projects head to our website.
Below are artists’ impressions of the 1000-year bridge, and the viewing platform from where Te Maro – the circular sculpture on the side of Tītīrangi – can be seen