At a Kapiti Coast District Council meeting on Thursday 25 February, Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai presented a united front to koha a name for the Kapiti Gateway Centre.
Te Uruhi, the name gifted to the gateway centre, is the original place name for the southern side of MacLeans Park, close to where the centre will be built.
As an original landing site, a traditional Pā site, a location where significant battles and trading with whalers took place, and a launching point for Kapiti Island, it is also an area that has huge historical significance to both iwi.
Although the exact design of Te Uruhi, the Kapiti Gateway Centre is still not confirmed, the Kapiti Coast District Council, working in partnership with Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai and the Department of Conservation (DOC) agree that the centre will provide a building space of gathering for the community and visitors alike.
All who visit will be able to enjoy and connect with the natural surroundings, view art work and carvings that tell the history of the area and also promote Kapiti as a tourist destination.
An Artists Impression of Te Uruhi and more information about the project is available here.
Significance of Te Uruhi to Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai
Te Uruhi means to coerce, force or compel, which was the description given to the location and positioning of the former Pā site (fortified settlement) as one of the two areas of access to enage enemy tribes. The other access being Te Kenakena on the northern side of the Waikanae river.
Te Uruhi was initially setted by our Ngāti Toa Rangatira chief Te Rangihaeata and his sister Rangitopeora following the initial taking of Kapiti Island in 1823 by Ngāti Toa leader Te Peehi Kupe and his Ngāti Koata allies.
Te Uruhi was later re-allocated by Ngāti Toa to various Taranaki and Te Āti Awa chiefs who then became permanent occupants.
The land is recorded in the original Crown deed of sale as being owned by the chief Ngāti Puketapu, Ihakara Te Ngarara and others of Taranaki and Ngāti Toa.
Following the battle of Wai-o-Rua in 1824, Ngāti Toa allies, including te hapū o Puketapu and others from Te Āti Awa migrated to the Kapiti area. Land was allocated at Te Uruhi to te hapū o Puketapu in the aftermath of a battle at Pukerangiora in 1833. Shortly there after, te hapū o Puketapu reoccupied the Pā on a large sand dune at Te Uruhi, known as the Te Uruhi Pā.