Hokonui Rūnanga purchased the site at Charlton Road in 1999. The location is significant as it nestles among the trails and landmarks formed by our ancestors. Prominent personalities are inextricably linked to the local landmarks and their knowledge and understanding of the area has been passed down for nearly a thousand years.
Hokonui Rūnanga 140 Charlton Rd is situated on the Trails.
Trails used by Māori would have arrived in this area, particularly along the high ground such as Onuku. These were major parts of the network of inland routes, tracks and waterways that connected hapu and whanau with each other, in peace and in war, and enabled them to exploit their inland stone and mahika kai resources. Māori would generally travel inland via the trails and then downstream via the rivers. This network connected the inland lakes and the Five River Plains to the kaika of the southern Murihiku coast.
This journey begins where the old Māori track from west of Gore winds nearby across the ridges. It is an area named Manuka after the Charlton Creek which was called Manuka after the small son of Paiherewao who died in this area this is currently where Hokonui Rūnanga at Charlton Rd is situated.
Close to present day Croydon Bush or Haumuri was an area of ‘tall manuka’ (probably kanuka) known as Pokaikakariki. Downstream the trail crossed to the mouth of the Waimumu stream, went along the bank of the Mataura to the ford several kilometres below the present-day town of Mataura and opposite the kaika of Tuturau.
A long history
Our people have a long history in this area. Te Rakitauneke the Kati Mamoe chief whose famous taniwha (dragon) Matamata now forms the profile of the Hokonui Hills, and Paroparo Te Whenua whose discovery of kanakana (lamprey) favoured the waterfalls at Mataura as a major food gathering site.
The long history of the area is punctuated by the inconsolable grief of Weka who lost his wife Nuku and his child Hinaki when he was delayed on a hunting trip in the valley for several days in a snow storm. Returning home he found them, dead beneath the snow. After burying them he composed a moving lament on the terrace of East Gore, a place known as Onuku.
Then in 1836 what has become to be regarded as the last intertribal combat in New Zealand happened at Tuturau. After an unsuccessful raid by Ngati Tama chief Te Puhou, Tuturau became home to Reko. Reko’s ability to guide and his vast knowledge of the area was pivotal to the accurate mapping of the inland regions of the lower South Island.
Planning for the future
Surrounded now by the landforms and rivers that speak of the richness of history that has preceded, Hokonui Rūnanga members held a series of planning wananga. Here they set goals for social, economic and cultural development for the present and non attending members (including those with immediate right through to those who would have rights of succession).
From those early wananga, strategic objectives were set and implemented. Objectives embraced the following areas:
- Health and well-being
- Cultural development
- Protection of the environment
A major outcome of these early wananga was the establishment of our Health and Social Services Trust.
The following projects are currently being implemented by Hokonui Rūnanga:
- Mataitai Project - restoration and protection of traditional Mahinga Kai sites
- Wahi Tapu sites and waterways
- Wetlands Project - restoration and protection of the natural environment that it is predator free
- Art and Culture Project - resulting in a carved gateway at the Museum in Gore
- Flower Project - a commercial flower growing operation
- Koura - a joint venture breeding programme with Ngai Tahu and Earnslaw One.
Find out more about these key projects in our Projects section.
A vision for the future
Hokonui Rūnanga continues to work for the benefit of those who whakapapa to Hokonui and the communities associated with and connected to the takiwa of Hokonui.
Our vision the future is threefold:
- to have increased membership participation,
- to protect Runanga cultural and environmental heritage and
- to continue providing services in a setting of excellence.