The opening of the cultural thread was celebrated in Waikanae today with a blessing of the new paving design outside the gates of Whakarongotai Marae. Kaumātua Koro Don Te Māipi led the blessing ceremony.
Kāpiti Coast District Council Infrastructure Delivery Manager Michelle Parnell says iwi and Council have worked together on the cultural thread project, the first stage of planned improvements for Waikanae town centre.
“The cultural thread aims to recognise the history of our people and to better integrate the Waikanae town centre with Whakarongotai Marae. A significant aspect of the cultural thread is the paving design – Te Ara Tāngata.”
Te Ātiawa Town Centres working group member Tracey Morgan says the cultural thread has many embedded components.
“The design acknowledges the history of the marae. It reflects the original pātikitiki wallpaper designs and stained-glass windows within the meeting house, and visually connects the marae to Ruakōhatu Urupā - the cemetery next to St Luke’s Church on Elizabeth Street.”
Ms Parnell says the paving design also represents purapura whetū (myriad of the stars). Purapura whetū is encased within pātikitiki (the flounder), which symbolises favourable conditions, and harvests good fortune and abundance. Triangular chevrons can be interpreted as not only a waka (spirit medium of an atua), but also the tip of the hoe (used to row or paddle waka on the voyage).
Other work completed as part of the cultural thread project includes improving lighting, planting, seating and pedestrian access from the Greater Wellington Regional Council commuter car park, past the marae and through to Mahara Place.
Ms Parnell says future work planned for Waikanae town centre includes upgrading Mahara Place.