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Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi: New name for next stages of RiverLink project

Media release, Te Awa Kairangi Project Team, 19 June 2023

Mana Whenua have gifted the name Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi - The Soothing Waters of Te Awa Kairangi to the Alliance that will deliver the project previously referred to as RiverLink.

The RiverLink project was planned, consulted on and consented between 2019-2021. Elements of the RiverLink programme being delivered by the Alliance will be delivered under the new name.

Mana Whenua Alliance partners Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira formally gifted the name and cultural narrative at a pōwhiri held at Te Tatau o te Pō Marae in Lower Hutt on 17 April 2023.

The narrative and name were given by Kura Moeahu, respected iwi leader of Te Āti Awa and Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika. The narrative acknowledges the story of the tupua Ngake and how the whipping and lashing of his tail created Te Awa Kairangi - Hutt River. The river was created as Ngake broke free from the landlocked lake, where he lived with Whātaitai, to form Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

The gifting of the name Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi for the project, refers to the many waterways that came together to heal and soothe the scars that Ngake left on the land. These waterways feed the river and continue to shape the landscape of the Hutt Valley. The name is a reminder about the importance of caring for the environment.

RiverLink Mana Whenua Steering Group Interim Chair, and Taranaki Whānui representative, Lee Hunter says these gifts recognise Mana Whenua historical, spiritual and cultural connection to the river and this region.

"Through sharing our Te Āti Awa narratives, the Alliance and wider community are able to learn, understand and embrace the significance of Te Awa Kairangi to our people".

Alliance Manager Mike Kerr says "The gifting of this narrative reflects the partnership of the project with Mana Whenua to date and establishes the importance of Te Ao Māori into the Alliance from the start. The name reflects the Alliance team’s desire to protect and enhance our land, our river and the future of this area - for the benefit of our entire community".

Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi is an Alliance partnership between iwi Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Hutt City Council, AECOM and Fletcher.

The Alliance has been established to deliver the RiverLink project which includes crucial flood protection and river restoration work, improvements to public transport, walking and cycling routes, local roads and the State Highway 2 Melling Interchange, as well as urban revitalisation of the Lower Hutt city centre.

You can learn more about the project at: www.teawakairangi.co.nz