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by Chris Tobin

A move is being made to add the distinctive archway next to State Highway 1 at Arowhenua – Te Kamaka o Arowhenua – to the New Zealand Heritage list and have it recognised as a wahi tupuna.

Heritage New Zealand has written to the Timaru District Council to comment on the proposal and seek its support.

The council’s group manager people and digital Symon Leggett advised the community services committee that the archway was thought to be the only of its type in New Zealand.

Heritage NZ said the proposal to recognise the arch as a wahi tupuna on the heritage list was put forward by Anne Te Maiharoa Dodds and endorsed by Gwen Anglem-Bower and Te Wera King.

Ratana…Ratana symbology on the Kamaka denotes the strong presence of the Ratana Church at Arowhenua. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

“The kamaka was dedicated in 1935 by Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana as a kohatu whakamaharataka (memorial stone) to esteemed tupuna Te Maiharoa as well as the hapu’s fallen World War 1 soldiers.

“Te Maiharoa is remembered as a transformational leader in the mid-19th century who sought to dampen the effects of colonisation on his people. The Ratana symbology on the kamaka denotes the strong presence of the Ratana Church at Arowhenua.

The foundation stone for the memorial was laid in December 1934 and construction was completed in 1935.

Remembered…the hapu’s fallen World War One soldiers are remembered on the Kamaka as well as those from World War Two. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

A plaque has been added to remember those who died serving in World War 2.

Wahi tupuna are places important to Maori for ancestral significance and associated cultural and traditional values.