This section of the IMP addresses issues of particular significance in the catchment of Akaroa Harbour (Map 17).
Ngāi Tahu culture, history and identity is strongly embedded in the land and seascapes of this catchment. The Harbour is part of Te Tai o Mahaanui, the Selwyn – Banks Peninsula Coastal Marine area Statutory Acknowledgement (See Appendix 7). Ngāi Tahu oral traditions explain the creation of Akaroa Harbour:
Our oral traditions of Te Ukura (maunga that stands on the western side of Akaroa Harbour, overlooking Ōnawe) recall the establishment of the ley-lines to Rāpaki, Tūwharetoa and Te Arawa through the deeds of Tamatea-Pokaiwhenua and are linked to the Takitimu oral traditions.
These oral traditions tell of Tamatea and his people’s Southern expedition resulting in the Takitimu floundering in the Murihiku area. As they returned to their home in the North Island Tamatea and his people travelled up the East Coast of the South Island arriving at Rāpaki.
Overcome by the cold, Tamatea summoned fire to warm his people from Ngātorirangi through karakia. Oral tradition recalls that Ngātorirangi sent fire in the form of two fireballs one from Ruapehu and the other from Ngauruhoe. On their journey south the fireballs merged into one fireball.
Upon reaching the Te Irika o Kahukura also known as Kā Kōhatu Whakarakaraka a Tamatea-Pokaiwhenua, the fireball broke back into two fireballs. The first fireball continued down the slope carving out Te Whakatakaka-o-te-karehuo-te-ahi-Tamatea and Whakaraupō (known today as Lyttelton Harbour). The second fireball continued eastward landing at Te Ukura and carved out Whakaroa (known today as Akaroa Harbour). The fire having warmed Tamatea and his people, remains today in the form of thermal spots around the Lyttelton Harbour and are known to our people for their therapeutic and mahinga kai values. Now warmed Tamatea and his roopū continued their journey north eventually arriving at Ōhinemutu where they gave Ngātorirangi “Te Mauri o te Mātao” in exchange for the fireballs he had sent. This mauri was placed at Ōhinemutu where it remains today and became the basis of the solidification of the volcanic plateau.