Key Topics: Cultural and Archaeological Values
An archaeological assessment has been undertaken for the Development Area.
The assessment identifies that that there were two broad natural terraces, which are likely to have been occupied and gardened in the past by Māori. High points on the ground above, and between the two terraces, could have been used for storage and defence. The sole recorded pa is located on the highest point at 422 m, overlooking this area.
The soils are well-drained, which would have suited gardening and storage of kumara. It appears the springs within the subject properties were only active during the winter, or at times of very heavy rainfall. However, the named streams to the north, south and east were permanent waterways. To the east the tributaries of the Otamatea Stream formed several swampy channels, which might have had eels, flax and other resources.
The earliest maps show the land was predominantly or totally clear of bush, which must have been cut by Māori in the past, to form areas for settlement and gardening. Further bush felling would have occurred after European arrival.
Traditional Māori accounts refer to gardened areas, including Paparata marked just outside the properties, but may extend over a wider area.
Site investigations have identified the location of several archaeological features and sites that may warrant protection. Most of these features and sites are in locations that enable retention and protection.
Development of the Pukehāngi Heights Development Area has the potential to adversely affect identified archaeological features and sites. Further investigation will be needed at the development stage to determine appropriate management.
While few archaeological features remain, the Cultural Impact Assessment prepared by Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tuara identifies the area’s cultural and historical significance, with settlement occurring over 500 years ago.
The whole area is significant for Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tuara as a meeting point between their ancestors’ traditional homes of Horohoro, Tihi-o-Tonga, Tārewa and Patetere. Key cultural features include the old pā sites - Pukehāngi and Puketapu and the north-facing slopes from the kāinga at Paparata towards the north-west (along what is now Pukehāngi Rd) that were used extensively by tangata whenua as mahinga kai.
Given the areas cultural context, there is a desire to see the expression of cultural identity within the Development Area, including through the incorporation of landmark features such as traditional or contemporary art works into the street network, and street naming.
The effectiveness of the management of archaeological sites, and sites and areas of cultural significance is dependent on the quality of the information available. Early engagement with hapū and the identification of issues and responses early in the planning stage of the development process means that effective protection measures can be put in place where required.
 Assessment for Exploratory Archaeological Authority: Pukehāngi Heights, Rotorua, Dr C Phillips, 2019