Te Rauparaha site may get new status

PROTECTION: A new management plan is to be put in place for Takapuneke Reserve.

The site of a bloody massacre on Banks Peninsula is a step closer to achieving National Reserve status.

Takapuneke sits between Akaroa and the settlement of Onuku.

In 1830 Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha and a war party of 100 went ashore from the brig Elizabeth – anchored on pretext of trading flax – and sacked Takapuneke, killing many of the inhabitants and capturing Ngai Tahu leader Te Maiharanui.

The act was considered revenge for the killing of Ngati Toa chief Te Pehi Kupe at Kaiapoi two years earlier.

In 2002 the reserve was registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as wahi tapu (a place of outstanding historic or cultural heritage value) and in 2006 the Banks Peninsula District Council resolved to seek National Reserve status, denoting the same standing as the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

But a reserve management plan has to be in place before an application can be made.

Under the new plan there will be three parks – Park of Silence, Park of Reflection and Park of Healing.

All animals are banned, apart from sheep for grazing. Camping, food and bicycles are also prohibited.

Public access will be restricted to the Park of Silence unless granted permission by Onuku Runanga and it will be enclosed in permeable fencing enabling views into the area.

A network of paths will be constructed in the other two parks along with seats and interpretive panels and signage, while the Immigration Barracks building will be renovated and used for educational purposes.

The reserve will have two entrances – one at Beach Rd and one at Onuku Rd where a car park is to be built on the former city council landfill site.

Deputy Mayor Andrew Turner said the plan was an important milestone for an area of “immense” cultural and spiritual significance.

“It means we are now in a position to make a formal application to the Minister of Conservation for National Reserve status,” Cr Turner said.