Rationale for purchase
The Five Rivers School site (see photo) was purchased because of its cultural significance.
From an economic perspective it is well positioned for development in conjunction with the proposed Around the Mountain Cycle Trail.
A site of cultural significance
Five Rivers is a place where the ancient paths of our ancestors and travellers today meet.
Over the years war parties, trading parties, marriage parties hapu and whanau working their mahinga kai or stone resources would have passed over this site. The remains of middens at the site are evidence of the travellers stopping here for sustenance on their journeys.
Battle of Waitaramea
Close by the Five Rivers school site the Battle of Waitaramea took place between Tutemakohu and Kaweriri.
Tutemakohu, a Kati Mamoe warrior, won fame for the many battles he fought against Kai Tahu in Otago and Murihiku. He was often associated with Marakai who lived nearby.
Both Tutemakohu and Marakai had won fame by with defeating and killing the Kai Tahu Chief Waitai. This success had made them a target for those seeking utu. Among them was Kai Tahu Chief Kaweriri who led an expedition inland surprising some of Tutemakohu’s people as they were fishing and captured all but one who managed to escape and warn Tutemakohu.
Tutemakohu then led his small force towards Lake Wakitipu by nightfall they were only able to get as far as Waitaramea (Oswald Stream) on the Five Rivers Plain. The next morning Kaweriri’s taua caught up with there. Resulting in the battle. Tutemakohu and his people were outnumbered three to one. Despite this Kaweriri was killed by Tutmakohu who managed to escape after saying a karakia for mist to descend. The gods answered his plea and so he escaped.