Monday, April 22, 2024

Hikanui Pā tree felling to begin

The removal of a stand of exotic trees at Hikanui Pā within Tainui Reserve is scheduled to begin on Monday 11 March, Hastings District Council has confirmed.

The Council says the tree removal could take up to six weeks to complete.

During Cyclone Gabrielle the site was severely damaged, and arboricultural specialists advised that the loss of so many trees had left the remaining trees vulnerable to failing, risking serious damage to the pā site and reserve visitors.

Funding for the work of $550,000 was approved by Council in November last year, and includes indigenous revegetation and geotextile matting.

Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst said it was a difficult decision to allocate the funding given the district’s significant cyclone recovery needs, but that the project was about protecting the safety of Tainui Teserve visitors.

“As the landowner Council is also responsible under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act for protecting this archaeological site,” she said.

“It is a site of cultural significance that needs to be preserved and maintained.”

Hikanui Pā sits on the middle of three ridgelines in the reserve, with the terraces located on the western ridgeline.

Accessible from the upper Hikanui Drive entrance, the pā contains archaeological features through the interior including a ditch and bank, terracing and pits.

The project will involve the removal of trees on and around the archaeological site using heavy machinery and, for part of the time, a helicopter.

The whole of Tainui Reserve will be closed to the public for the duration of the work. The only exception will be the grass area between Keith Sands Grove and Keirunga Road which will remain open, except during helicopter operations as the helicopter will land in this area for refuelling.

Advance notice will be provided to nearby residents prior to helicopter activity. Once the trees are removed stabilisation matting will be put in place and the area replanted with
indigenous species.

The works are being undertaken under an archaeological authority from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and will be supervised by Archaeology Hawke’s Bay. Treescape has been contracted to undertake the tree removals.

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