News: 14 February 2020
Hokitika Port, Commercial and Government Centre will join Tohu Whenua today, recognising it as one of New Zealand’s most treasured heritage places.
Joining other sites on the West Coast as well as in Northland and Otago, Hokitika was selected as a Tohu Whenua because of its key role in drawing people in search of the Te Tai Poutini’s natural taonga – pounamu and gold.
“Ngāi Tahu fought many battles for pounamu here and later the port was central in establishing the town as the ‘Goldfields Capital’, making it the busiest New Zealand immigration entry point of its time,” says Tohu Whenua Governance Group Chair and Chief Executive Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Andrew Coleman.
About 130 people came together in celebration, including representatives of local iwi Ngāti Waewae and Ngāti Mahaki ki Makaawhio, the Chair of the Tohu Whenua Governance Group, Mayor of the Westland District, Department of Conservation & representatives of Hokitika’s heritage community. Photo by Claudia Babirat, courtesy of Tohu Whenua's facebook page.
“We launched Tohu Whenua Te Tai Poutini West Coast at Arahura Marae here in Hokitika in 2018 so it’s fitting we have returned to welcome Hokitika itself into the programme”.
A joint partnership between Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai, Tohu Whenua tells the powerful stories of our heritage, connecting this country’s most significant places together to provide quality visitor experiences for New Zealanders and overseas visitors wanting to learn more about our history and culture.
“Already Air New Zealand’s gateway to the West Coast, Tohu Whenua will bring more visitors – and revenue - to this beautiful artisan town. Standing in the heart of the heritage precinct, one can picture ‘The Luminaries’, explore the heritage buildings and take home a special taonga crafted by a local artist.”
“Hokitika is rich in history and we are proud to have worked with the Westland District Council, Ngāti Waewae, Ngāti Māhaki ki Makaawhio and Heritage Hokitika to recognise this today so that Hokitika’s stories will continue to be told,” says Mr Coleman.
Hokitika’s Tohu Whenua status will be marked by a wooden post located on the Tancred Street Viewing Platform on Gibson Quay. As locals and visitors travel throughout the region they will recognise identical posts at Tohu Whenua’s other West Coast sites – Brunner Mine, Denniston Mine and Historic Reefton.
Updated on 2nd March 2020