Blessing for ferry terminal redevelopment
On a cold, perfectly clear Saturday morning in July, a small group representing the Waitohi Picton Ferry Terminal Redevelopment partnership came together to bless the site ready for construction.
9 December 2022
Te Hurihanga o te Whenua, or turning of the soil, is a cultural expression of protection, in this case involving the burying of mauri stones.
Led by members of Mana Whenua of Waitohi Picton, Te Ātiawa o te Waka a Māui, the ceremony was held before dawn and attended by project partners KiwiRail and Port Marlborough, together with Marlborough District Council.
Te Ātiawa Chair, Rachael Hāte says the event was one of unity and showed collective support for the project. With the hard ground making it necessary for everyone to take a turn on the shovel, she says it was also symbolic of the work ahead.
“What made it special was it allowed others, our partners, to contribute and to add their strength and energy to the event. What that does is offer a layer of protection, a safe way forward for those that are going to work from now, and moving into the new parts of the project,” Rachael Hāte says.
Gavin Beattie, Manager Infrastructure for Port Marlborough said the ceremony marks a significant point in the project. “Te Hurihanga o te Whenua is an important milestone for the soil turning moment prior to construction. The ferry terminal precinct is being redeveloped on what was previously Te Werenga o Waitohi, which holds particular significance for Te Ātiawa o te Waka a Māui. We are grateful to Mana Whenua for bestowing this blessing on the project and all those who will be working on it.”
For KiwiRail’s Stephen O’Keefe, having all the partners involved is not only important, but necessary. “No one team can deliver this project. The success of the project relies on these strong relationships and participation from Mana Whenua, KiwiRail, Port Marlborough, Marlborough District Council and the community.”
Deputy Mayor, Nadine Taylor agrees the ceremony was special, with the ‘hard digging’ not unlike those moments in life when we realise the only thing to do is to “work together.”