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Protecting our precious places

Te Kohekohe Pa, Awhitu Peninsula

Collaboration protects natural and cultural values of Te Kohekohe Pa

Te Kohekohe Pa lies on a prominent, narrow ridge at the southern end of Lake Pokorua on Awhitu Peninsula in South Auckland.

Along with six defensive units, each fortified with ditches, banks and steepened scarps, there are over eighty kumara pits including both rectangular, raised rim pits and bell shaped rua pits.

Te Kohekohe Pa forest

Above: The eastern side of the ridge is covered with kanuka, taraire, karaka and puriri.

In January 2009, John and Julie McNamara protected the 22ha forest remnant and pa site with their third QEII covenant.

Julie and John McNamara

Above: Julie and John McNamara.

‘Covenanting helps with our stock management,’ says John.

‘The best way to protect the site was to fence it off.

'There was much consultation on the management plan with the Auckland Regional Council, Franklin District Council, Historic Places Trust, QEII and Ngati Te Ata.

‘We planned the exact line of the fencing together to avoid the kumara pits and other features.

'As we went over the site, we learnt how to recognise where people had lived and possible water storage areas.

'The construction of the fencing was monitored very closely by archaeologists.'

John explains that a light to medium grazing regime is part of the management plan.

‘From a farmer’s point of view, we needed to demonstrate that we are grazing in a way that avoids damage.

It’s also important to maintain a dense sward to avoid erosion.’

Te Kohekohe Pa

Above: Te Kohekohe Pa stands out on the ridgeline. A rangatira, while making his way from Taranaki to Kaipara, led his party via the Waiuku-Awaroa portage and camped near this site for several months under large kohekohe trees. The memory of the stay perpetuates in the name of the pa.

Lynda Fleming, QEII South Auckland Regional Representative, adds that this is an excellent example of multiple agencies and stakeholders working together to protect both ecological and archaeological features while still providing for continued farming use.

All Photos: Lynda Fleming

Open Space™ Magazine No. 76, July 2009 © QEII National Trust

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