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Parihaka wins national award

This page contains information about Parihaka that has been recognised with a New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Community Design Award.
Updated: 19/04/2017 8:25 a.m.

​It is a little over a year since thousands of people congregated to unveil the new lookout on Parihaka mountain, and its guardian kohatu.

“On the day good will rippled like a breeze through and around and over all involved, and that breath has been felt again this week, with a national award recognising the significance of the project to the Whangarei Community,” said Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai.   

Parihaka – Restoring the Mana of the Maunga – has been recognised with a New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Community Design Award presented to Opus International Consultants. 

A board of ten judges said “Restoring the Mana of the Maunga” demonstrates a considerable engagement with community groups, particularly the hapu of Whangarei. 

“The design embodies the essence of place, reinforcing connections to significant landmarks and sight lines.

“The specially selected kohatu forms the centre-piece of the lookout structure. This exquisitely carved piece anchors the lookout platform and lends a sense of ceremonial occasion to the site. 

“The slow incline of the walkway accentuates the power of the borrowed landscape, while the visitor is transported to a primordial time by awe-inspiring views. The inclusion of interpretative signage helps visitors to understand the significant history of the area. Materials and construction are of a high quality.”

Mayor Mai said the Parihaka lookout project was a major highlight for the Whangarei community, and it was tremendous to see it being acknowledged by national experts, and to see word of the project spreading. 

“This project had a very long gestation, going right back to my first term on Council when Whangarei hapu asked us to help them correct the name of the mountain which had become known as Parahaki over the years. 

“The evidence hapu produced could not be faulted and Council took the issue to the New Zealand Geographic Board. 

“The correct name was restored by the Board, but little was done to reinforce that this was the correct name which we should all own and be proud of. 

“The chance to make a proper and clear statement came when plans arose to re-build the very tired old lookout. 

“Well over a dozen Whangarei hapu were involved from the beginning.  They had input into the design, the decision to install a kohatu, finding the right piece of stone from the right place, its carving by Te Warahi Hetaraka, and the content of the panoramic and story signs. 

“At the time many people commented to me how unifying it had been among not only different hapu, but the wider community as well. 

“Sometimes landscape architecture is primarily about the beauty of a place, but here the community was no less important, and the outcome honours both.” 



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