Battle site to be redeveloped
The redevelopment of the Te Ranga battle site reserve in Pyes Pā has begun this week.
The plan is to provide a more appropriate setting befitting its historical importance, as well as a recreational reserve planted up to replicate the original forest cover.
“This is an exciting start to the redevelopment of the Te Ranga reserve – something that we’ve been aiming for, for quite some time now,” says Buddy Mikaere from Pukehinahina Charitable Trust.
A small group including Paul Greenshields from Bay of Plenty Regional Council land management, Clinton Bowyer – a landscape architect at Tauranga City Council – Peri Kohu and Tamati Tata from Ngāi Tamarāwaho, Buddy Mikaere, David Clayton-Green from CGC Ltd, and Grant Schuler from Arbor Care Ltd gathered for a blessing over the site prior to the start of excavation work.
“The work is going to involve putting in a soundproof barrier down at the end of the reserve near where the present memorial is,” adds Buddy
During a recent ground penetrating radar survey, a trench was identified that extends along the southern end of the site. Now filled in, it is believed to have once extended across the valley. The memorial sits directly over the trench.
Buddy says the plan may involve a replacement for the memorial as well as a structure built to house information about what happened there in June 1864.
“There will also be some landscaping work,” he says, “but the major part of the work here will be the clearing and replanting of the very steep scarp that’s on the eastern side of the reserve.”
All of the noxious weeds down the hill will be taken out and replaced with planting.
“The idea is to try and recreate the native bush that once upon a time was here, and to create a recreational space that people can come and walk through.”
The project may take up to two years to complete and will include removing the hedge on the Pyes Pā side of the site, with a bund formed to mute traffic noise that travels across the ground.
“We are pleased to have the support of our three councils for this project,” says Buddy. “We’re also able to use the fill that’s being excavated to create storm water ponds down on Kennedy Road.”