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Posts Tagged ‘otakaro’

Continual rain overnight (thanks to Cyclone Cook) meant that our patio was flooded when we got up this morning.

Patio Pond

We’ve not seen it like this before.  There was 40mm of rain overnight, and the ground underneath must still be saturated from the previous week’s rain.  Luckily it’s draining now the rain has eased.  The river was also high, and was over its banks in several places.

Avon/Otakaro near Barbadoes Street Bridge

It’s flowed onto Fitzgerald Avenue near the Kilmore Street intersection.  We’ve been spared the high winds that have caused problems in the North Island, and a fine afternoon is forecast.

“I’ll stay inside, the river’s high
and I want to keep warm and dry.’

 

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A mother duck was swimming beside The Terraces this morning with eight new ducklings.

Duck family

Duck family

The eels were nearby, and mother duck was doing her best to keep the family away from them.

Eel family

Eel family

I doubt that there’ll still be eight ducklings tomorrow.  On the other side of the river two scaupe were sleeping in the sunshine.

Sleepy scaupe

Sleepy scaupe

“A lovely warm and sunny day
means summer’s surely on the way.”

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The walking tour along the Otakaro was a feature of this year’s WORD festival.  Offered on three days, it quickly sold out, and I was glad to have secured a place.  Joseph Hullen (Ngai Tuahuriri, Ngai Tahu) led us first to the riverbank in Victoria Square, opposite the law courts, where there is a significant group of Ti Kouka/Cabbage trees.

Ti Kouka (Small)

Ti Kouka trees, of the same family as leeks and onions, provided food, shelter, clothing, and footwear for early Maori.  This area was the largest mahinga kai/food gathering area in Otautahi, and from here food was transported to the settlement at Kaiapoi.  There were a number of Pa nearby, which served as way stations for travellers, and where people could keep an eye on their food source.  From the 1780s local Maori interacted and traded with sealers and whalers, but in 1850 the Pa sites disappeared with the Kemp Purchase.  The first organised commerce between Kai Tahu and Pakeha settlers happened at the Market Square (now Victoria Square).  Maori built houses on the corner where the Oxford Tavern later stood, and brought goods in from Kaiapoi to sell to the settlers.

There were urupa/graveyards all through the city, because Maori like to bury their dead where they can keep an eye on them.  When the St Luke’s Vicarage was built a skeleton was found which is considered to be that of Tautahi for whom Otautahi was named.  Since the earthquakes, wherever there are excavations they will be overseen by an archaeologist, and by a member of the runanga if it’s an area where there may have been an urupa.

Because of the food gathering tradition of the Otakaro/Avon River, Kai Tahu are keen to have their cultural values commemorated.  Patterns laid out in stone, such as this one at the Margaret Mahy Family Playground, help to tell the stories.

Maori Design MMP (Small)

The patterns are set in a metal frame so that if the area needs to be dug up in future the pattern can ramain intact.

Some of Joseph’s story was heard in an interview with Kim Hill on Saturday morning.  His part comes after the bit with Sam Crofskey of C1 Espresso.

After the walk I went to a session on Ngai Tahu Story Telling with Ta Tipene O’Regan.  He talked about an oral map, and how when cultures move they take the memories with them and plant them in a new place.  Place names are the memory posts, the signposts of the land.  He told the story of Poutini, and how Port Levy got its Maori name Koukourarata.   Ta Tipene said that myth is the only reality.

“An afternoon of Maori lore
has left me wanting to hear more.”

 

 

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Cabbage Trees (Small)A significant ti kouka (cabbage tree) on the banks of the Ōtākaro/Avon within the Englefield Lodge estate was used as a fishing marker by local Māori in the 19th century.  The tree was removed in 1922 then formally replaced in 1994. The replacement can be seen on Avonside Drive, just east of Fitzgerald Avenue.  The adjoining plaque reads “He tohu whakamaumahara o matau tipuna”, which can be translated as “Remember the ancestors”.

This memorial commemorates the Kāi Tahu allocation of fishing sites in the area. The swamplands that were so highly prized by Māori were not regarded favourably by European colonists who diverted waters from the traditional māhinga kai to make way for cultivation and urban development.

“The Pakeha moved swamp to drains
and very little now remains.”

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Public finally have access to the area along Oxford Terrace between Cashel and Hereford Streets.  The Bridge of Remembrance is available once more.

Bridge of Remembrance

Bridge of Remembrance

Some people have asked why the “rusty” marks haven’t been removed.  The bridge is made from a Tasmanian stone which contains iron that sometimes leaches out, and this can’t be cleaned away.

For years I sat on these terraces to eat my lunch, and I’m pleased they’ve been replaced.

Oxford Terraces & Hereford Street Bridge

Oxford Terraces & Hereford Street Bridge

The new terraces have inscriptions.

Inscriptions on steps

Inscriptions on steps

This one reads “Ko Otakaro te ingoa, noku tenei whenua.”  My reo is very basic, but I think it means “My name is Otakaro (Avon), this is my land.”

On the west bank a descendant of the Gallipoli Lone Pine was planted last year to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landings.  It has a strong protective covering.

Lone Pine behind fence

Lone Pine behind fence

“My lunch spot now has been renewed
and ducks again will beg for food.”

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