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Papamoa Hills Cultural Heritage Park opens

27 July 2004

Papamoa Hills Cultural Heritage Regional Park opens

The Papamoa Hills Cultural Heritage Regional Park will be officially opened on Saturday, 31 July 2004.

The regional park is the first to be opened outside of Wellington and Auckland. It is also the first regional park to operate under multiple ownership.

A morning ceremony will be held to bless the regional park, with the park opening to the public from midday. Guest of honour at the official opening will be Mita Ririnui, Member of Parliament for Waiariki.

The Papamoa Hills Cultural Heritage Regional Park project is a joint initiative involving Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Environment Bay of Plenty, working in partnership with local iwi.

The park offers a unique mix of former pa sites, strands of native forest and farmland, with outstanding views over the Bay of Plenty coastline. It will be operated as a passive reserve.

“There are no other comparable sites in the Bay of Plenty, and very few in the rest of the country, so it is very pleasing to open up this area for the long term benefit of the region,” said Norm Bruning, chairperson of the Papamoa Hills Cultural Heritage Regional Park Joint Committee

Tangata Whenua working group spokesperson, Maru Tapsell, said Papamoa Hills was nationally important in terms of its cultural and heritage significance. It is also a major landscape feature of the Papamoa and Tauranga area.

Most of the park is on land that was farmed by the McNaughton family for over 100 years, while maintaining the integrity of the pa sites. The land was purchased from the family in 2002 for development into a regional park. A further nine hectares of land was provided by Fulton Hogan Ltd to complete the 108 hectare reserve.

Before European settlement, the land was valued for its strategic importance. The rich concentration of pa sites, terraces and archaeological sites gives it significant cultural and historical value.

With ongoing input from Tangata Whenua and other interest groups, the parkland will continue to be developed for the benefit of the regional community.


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