Regarded as one of the world’s most valuable and exquisite timbers with special significance to iwi; Top Energy will gift this taonga to Ngāwhā Marae.
Top Energy Chief Executive Russell Shaw says the 60 tonne, 16-metre-long trunk was discovered at a depth of nine metres during levelling of the power station site during February.
This is the only swamp Kauri log find at the power station site. Civil works got underway on the station platform in 2017 and will continue to July this year at which point construction of the power station will begin with completion late 2020.
Over that time 900,000 cubic metres of soil will have been excavated and re-distributed on the site, indicating what a rare and timely find this was.
Mr Shaw says the unexpected discovery generated a great deal of excitement. The area around the log was carefully hollowed out while iwi was consulted, and the Northland Regional Council and the Ministry of Primary Industries advised.
A karakia was conducted by Kaumatua Eddie Court when Ngāwhā Marae Trustees Komiti members and advisors visited the site on Saturday 9 February.
Mr Shaw says there was no doubt in his mind that the ancient log should come under the guardianship of Ngāwhā Marae.
Komiti Chair Richard Woodman described the find as a precious cultural artefact – a remnant from an ancient Kauri forest that has been buried and preserved in clay up to 50,000 years ago.
“What you’ve given us is priceless and is something that will live on for generations, he taonga tuku iho for Ngāti Rangi ki Ngāwhā.”
The Ngāwhā Marae Trustees, as kaitiaki and guardians of this treasured taonga, have made a commitment to treating it with the utmost respect, and are holding it for purposes that will enhance the cultural identity of the hapū.
The Kauri log will be cut into three sections to allow removal to the Ngāwhā Marae. A powhiri will be held at the marae to welcome the sections into the care of the hapū, with all welcome.