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New reserve on significant historic site

New reserve on significant historic site

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick today announced the creation of a new historic reserve in Manukau City. The new reserve includes the archaeologically valuable Matukuturua Stonefields and the remains of the volcanic cone Matukutureia (McLaughlin’s Mountain).

“The Matukuturua site is especially important as it represents a large proportion of the 200 hectares of stonefields that remain from the 8000 hectares that once existed in the Auckland region,” Steve Chadwick said.

The Matukuturua Stonefields are one of the last remaining examples of pre-European Maori settlement and gardening on volcanic soils, and are nationally and internationally significant. The Stonefields demonstrate large areas of gardens, with garden mounds, boundary walls, settlement sites and cooking areas. “It is wonderful to secure more open space and recreation areas for our communities in what is one of New Zealand’s most rapidly growing urban areas. The new reserve is adjacent to Manukau City’s Puhinui reserve, which runs down to the Manukau Harbour shoreline.

“Protecting the Stonefields and volcanic cone for future generations is extremely important for New Zealanders. Being able to safeguard these taonga is part of the government’s aim to protect places that represent important aspects of New Zealand’s history and character.

“Sites like Matukuturua play a vital part in developing our understanding of the way early Maori used the land, and help explain the first centuries of Auckland’s settlement. The maunga Matukutureia, being the birthplace of Ngati te Ata’s founding ancestor, has special significance.”

The reserve is the result of an exchange between the government and Winstone Aggregates, a division of Fletcher Concrete and Infrastructure Ltd. The government exchanged two quarries, Wiri North and Wiri South, for the stonefields and volcanic cone.

“I thank Bernie Chote, General Manager of Winstone Aggregates and his team for the good will and effort they have put into making this exchange so successful. The willingness of all parties, including Ngati te Ata, to engage with the Crown has resulted in a win-win situation.”

The Department of Conservation is currently holding discussions with the Manukau City Council and Ngati te Ata to discuss opportunities, aspirations and options for the future management of the reserve.


Additional Information:

The basaltic lava stonefields of the Auckland region were occupied and used by Maori from early times.

The Matukuturua and Otuataua Stonefields together protect the bulk of the 200 hectares of stonefields that remain in Auckland.

Stonefields provide examples of pre-European and nineteenth century Maori gardening techniques.

Volcanic cones tell part of the story of the way Maori used the landscape in Auckland, but stonefields like Matukuturua help to form a complete picture.

The Matukuturua Stonefields are one of the last remaining areas in Auckland where it is possible to see evidence of past settlement on the land.

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