The first stone was laid on New Plymouth Airport’s new terminal on Thursday, fixing the building to the land and its people and embodying the hopes for its future.
The mauri stone, specially carved for Puketapu Hapū, was buried at the site of the planned terminal’s main entrance.
Shaped like a traditional Maori anchor stone, it represents the wishes and hopes of the people.
“This mauri is here as a kaitiaki, as a guardian for those who come and go,” Puketapu speaker John Eriwata told a gathering of hapū members, airport and construction workers, and representatives of New Plymouth District Council and the board of the airport company, Papa Rererangi i Puketapu.
The laying of the mauri stone for a new building is an ancient custom that reflects the hopes and desires of the people who will use it.
The stone was carved from a large rock from the Waiongana River, the main river associated with Puketapu Hapū.
A second mauri stone from the same rock will be carved and mounted as a feature in the new terminal.
The design of the new terminal has been created in partnership with Puketapu Hapū to promote their cultural narrative and local heritage.
New Plymouth Airport Fast Facts
- It’s the fourth busiest regional airport in New Zealand.
- It’s the gateway to Taranaki and about 430,000 people use it each year.
- Air New Zealand (flying to Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington), Jetstar (Auckland) and Originair (Nelson) all use it.
- Built in 1967, the terminal is being regenerated at a cost of about $25 million.
- Construction starts in April 2018 and will be completed by August 2019.
- It’s owned by NPDC and independently managed by a board of directors.