Wairoa heritage and culture study

Named after the kahikatea forest that once towered over the region, Te Rauwa is a heritage and culture study of Wairoa’s town centre and was recently launched at the Wairoa Museum.

Mike Spedding

A former New Zealand Historic Places Trust board member and former director of the Wairoa Museum, Mike Spedding (pictured left), co-wrote the study with Wairoa Museum curator, Nigel How. It grew out of Vision Project’s heritage and cultural assessment of the impact of proposed redevelopment of the town’s Marine Parade and greater town centre. 

Vision Project’s aim is to deliver a targeted approach to community and economic development mostly in the Wairoa district and the wider Hawkes Bay region. “Any redevelopment should be informed by the history of the area being developed,” says Mike. Te Rauwa is a visual survey of the changing landscape.

Te Rauwa includes historical photographs of the region, some of which are included in the museum’s exhibition.  Among the images that include scenes of Wairoa over the past 200 years are two that were taken only about 10 years after photography was first invented.

Historical photographs are annotated to show wahi tapu sites along the Marine Parade and the histories that make up Wairoa Hopupu Honengenenge Matangirau stretching back to the two high-born brothers of Tapuwae and Te Maaha.

In January 2020, a Provincial Growth Fund grant of $4.8m was given to the Wairoa District Council to support Te Wairoa E Whanake, Rise up and grow Wairoa, an initiative to revitalise Wairoa’s Marine Parade and town centre.

- David Watt