Bridge from landing to hill

Titirangi hilltop project involves $9 million funding bid.

Titirangi hilltop project involves $9 million funding bid.

The Cook landing site memorial as it looked in 1906 on the day of its formal opening ceremony. This Crawford collection photograph illustrates the visual impact of land reclamation and port development since then on the once-beachside spot where the explorer and his men landed. The Cook memorial could be linked to Kaiti Hill with a walk-bridge if
$9 million in funding is raised, as part of an ‘‘aspirational redevelopment of Titirangi”. Land reclamation and port expansion have made the obelisk an almost forgotten and difficult to see historic site with no “cone of vision” to the sea.
Picture courtesy of Tairawhiti Museum, William Crawford Collection

A “walk-bridge” linking Kaiti Hill to the often forgotten Cook Landing Site memorial obelisk is a feature of an overall $9 million funding application to develop an “aspirational” facility on Titirangi.

Future Tairawhiti — all the Gisborne District councillors and the Mayor — will meet tomorrow and be asked to approve the “aspirational” design, and that it will be fully reliant on external funding.

The committee agenda says a funding application of $6 million has been made to the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund to fund the Titirangi project in its entirety.

A further $3 million has been applied for to develop the walk-bridge and to fund a commemorative site for “a significant iwi tipuna, Te Maro”.

Te Maro was shot dead by a nervous crewman after James Cook’s party made landfall in Poverty Bay on October 8, 1769.

The availability of funding will impact on the delivery time.

The development of Titirangi is planned to:

• undertake a full landscape redevelopment of the summit site, the carpark and surroundings, and improve the visitor experience and sense of arrival.

• replace the observatory with a multi-purpose space for wananga and learning, increasing amenity value and providing for existing and new services.

• Retain the gun emplacement due to its historical context.

The “aspirational” facility, which is the preferred option, will tell the story of the hill and ‘its place in Tairawhiti cultural, spiritual and historical context’ in partnership with iwi”.

A business case originally requested by Eastland Community Trust as a potential funder originally listed several other options for Titirangi:

  • do nothing
  • do the minimum - a tidy up.
  • targeted upgrades to the observatory and gun emplacement.

The business case also includes previously-reported “perceived constraints” imposed by the 1967 Deed of Transfer by previous owners, the now defunct Gisborne Sheepfarmers Freezing Company, such as the definition of an observatory, a kiosk and the kind of trade allowable on Titirangi.

The Deed, as it stands, is described as “a significant impediment to the co-governance aspirations of Ngati Oneone”.

Community engagement has involved meeting with Gisborne Astronomical Society.

President John Drummond has stated the James Cook Observatory is historically significant and wants the summit to continue as a functioning space where the society can continue to meet.

Public engagement has resulted in a majority of respondents indicating support for an observatory to remain on Titirangi.

“It is not understood whether this is support of an observatory in its current form or whether this is support in general for a facility that provides for observation.”

The redevelopment project has been developed in conjunction with Ngati Oneone as part of the Tairawhiti Navigations programme and will provide a platform for matauranga (understanding of everything visible and invisible existing in the universe) Maori and observatory/landscape story telling.

“There is a risk that not delivering the full aspiration for the summit will negatively impact partnership relations with Ngati Oneone and potentially other shareholders.”

The project is under “considerable time pressure” and delays caused by the business case will ‘‘impact on what can be realistically delivered for 2019”.

The driver for developing Titirangi include current and potential visitor numbers, Te Ha 2019 sestercentennial commemorations and “national aspirations for this milestone occasion”.

A “walk-bridge” linking Kaiti Hill to the often forgotten Cook Landing Site memorial obelisk is a feature of an overall $9 million funding application to develop an “aspirational” facility on Titirangi.

Future Tairawhiti — all the Gisborne District councillors and the Mayor — will meet tomorrow and be asked to approve the “aspirational” design, and that it will be fully reliant on external funding.

The committee agenda says a funding application of $6 million has been made to the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund to fund the Titirangi project in its entirety.

A further $3 million has been applied for to develop the walk-bridge and to fund a commemorative site for “a significant iwi tipuna, Te Maro”.

Te Maro was shot dead by a nervous crewman after James Cook’s party made landfall in Poverty Bay on October 8, 1769.

The availability of funding will impact on the delivery time.

The development of Titirangi is planned to:

• undertake a full landscape redevelopment of the summit site, the carpark and surroundings, and improve the visitor experience and sense of arrival.

• replace the observatory with a multi-purpose space for wananga and learning, increasing amenity value and providing for existing and new services.

• Retain the gun emplacement due to its historical context.

The “aspirational” facility, which is the preferred option, will tell the story of the hill and ‘its place in Tairawhiti cultural, spiritual and historical context’ in partnership with iwi”.

A business case originally requested by Eastland Community Trust as a potential funder originally listed several other options for Titirangi:

  • do nothing
  • do the minimum - a tidy up.
  • targeted upgrades to the observatory and gun emplacement.

The business case also includes previously-reported “perceived constraints” imposed by the 1967 Deed of Transfer by previous owners, the now defunct Gisborne Sheepfarmers Freezing Company, such as the definition of an observatory, a kiosk and the kind of trade allowable on Titirangi.

The Deed, as it stands, is described as “a significant impediment to the co-governance aspirations of Ngati Oneone”.

Community engagement has involved meeting with Gisborne Astronomical Society.

President John Drummond has stated the James Cook Observatory is historically significant and wants the summit to continue as a functioning space where the society can continue to meet.

Public engagement has resulted in a majority of respondents indicating support for an observatory to remain on Titirangi.

“It is not understood whether this is support of an observatory in its current form or whether this is support in general for a facility that provides for observation.”

The redevelopment project has been developed in conjunction with Ngati Oneone as part of the Tairawhiti Navigations programme and will provide a platform for matauranga (understanding of everything visible and invisible existing in the universe) Maori and observatory/landscape story telling.

“There is a risk that not delivering the full aspiration for the summit will negatively impact partnership relations with Ngati Oneone and potentially other shareholders.”

The project is under “considerable time pressure” and delays caused by the business case will ‘‘impact on what can be realistically delivered for 2019”.

The driver for developing Titirangi include current and potential visitor numbers, Te Ha 2019 sestercentennial commemorations and “national aspirations for this milestone occasion”.

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