Ngā Whenu o te Whāriki
The two blue designs on the city side of the Basin Reserve acknowledge the many small side streams that flowed downhill and into the bigger Waitangi Awa from Te Ranga ā Hiwi, the ridge above.
The name Ngā Whenu o te Whāriki describes the relationship between the land and waterways.
Whāriki can be seen as a woven mat laid across the landscape to represent catchment areas with whenu as strands of the awa, streams or water tributaries that flow into, interweave across, and join the land catchments together. These connections or seams are known as hiki.
Waitangi (crying waters) Pūroto or lagoon was used for centuries by Māori and most recently, by Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Haumia hapu, for food-gathering, as a source of fresh water, and as a place to launch waka.
The pūroto was formed by the Waitangi Awa ponding behind a wave-formed shingle beach. The awa would sometimes break through this shingle beach and empty into the harbour, and occasionally, small peat islets with harakeke flax plants growing on them floated out into the harbour.
Traditional Māori kōrero tells of a taniwha kaitiaki or guardian that inhabited this pūroto, and foreseeing the coming of colonial settlers, left before their arrival.
During the building of the city, this natural lagoon and surrounding landscape was built over, as infrastructure replaced nature. Since 2006 much of this area has become a park and recreated wetland that the awa is diverted to flow through.
Find out more information about the bike route awa markings here.