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Maungatapu underpass artwork revealed

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A mural representing the connection between local hapū has been unveiled within the Hairini Link project in Tauranga today.

Maungatapu underpass kowhaiwhai

The 120 metre long and 2 metre high kowhaiwhai pattern named 'Kai te mako' was commissioned by the NZ Transport Agency and nga hapū o Ngāi Te Ahi, Ngāti He and Ngāti Ruahine.

The kowhaiwhai inspired artwork tells one of many stories associated with Kaitemako.  The korero, as re-told by kaumatua Huikakahu Kawe, says during an epidemic in the 1920's a Rongoa (Māori medicine) expert advised tangata whenua to locate the leaves of the Makomako tree or Wineberry, that were abundant on the slopes of the Kaitemako hills, in Welcome Bay.

"The leaves were collected daily by locals from this area, shared and consumed for their medicinal healing but are now no longer there.

"The small black and red triangles represent the makomako leaves; and the bare triangles represent the barren hills of Kaitemako after the Makomako trees stopped growing," Mr Kawe says.

NZ Transport Agency Project Team Leader, John McCarthy says the agency is very pleased to have worked with the hapū to tell this important local story.

“This striking mural is special to this area and we’d like to thank Ngāi Te Ahi, Ngāti He and Ngāti Ruahine for working with us to share it with the people who will use this road and the shared walking and cycling path.”

The public will be able to get up close to the mural at a Community Open Day on Sunday 27 May from 10am to 3pm.

“At the open day people can also be among the first to walk or cycle through the new underpass and we’ll have entertainment and giveaways,” Mr McCarthy says.

Community vendors will also be onsite with food and refreshments for purchase.

There will be free buses from the park and ride at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology campus on Windermere Road, and from Waipuna Park on Kaitemako Road.

“We are also encouraging people to walk or cycle to the event using the new shared overbridge and pathway from the Poike Road and SH29A roundabout.

“Entry to the community day will be from the new section of Welcome Bay Road. If people are walking to the event, please use existing footpaths and crossings to ensure your safety,” Mr McCarthy says.

Once completed, the $45m Hairini Link project will provide a two-lane link underneath the Maungatapu roundabout. The project will improve people’s journeys around the Maungatapu and Hairini roundabouts, will separate state highway traffic and local traffic, and make travel safer for pedestrians and cyclists by providing shared paths.

Read more about the Hairini Link project and the community day here:

http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/hairini-link/(external link)

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