New lookout for Whangarei's Mt Parihaka summit

By Tepara Koti
Parihaka Kohatu and Lookout Concept - Photo / supplied

Local hapū have worked with the council to design a new lookout for Mount Parihaka to better reflect the cultural significance and importance of the area.

A new lookout is being built at the summit of Parihaka for visitors to enjoy the view, which includes a new ramp with palisade-like edges and a special kohatu (rock).  It seems the old lookout didn't properly reflect the place's importance.

“This is an important place, but the old lookout hasn’t reflected that in a way that respects its mana.  By working with the district’s hapū, we have achieved a design that will include a special kohatu, which will inspire a sense of gravity and significance to the lookout,” said Senior Landscape Architect Bruno Gilmour.

Historical panels will explain the significance of the area and a panorama will name the landmarks in front of the viewers.  “This lookout will do justice to this historic place overlooking the city and many of the district's landmarks,” Gilmour adds.

“Quite often we refer to 'sense of place' when we are doing these kinds of works, but there is another landscape architecture term that captures the concept well, and that is Genius Loci.  It refers to the guardian spirit of a place, or its special, unique atmosphere.  Our aim is for the work we do, in partnership with others, to honour and enhance that quality for the people long associated with it, for visitors and for the environment itself."

Over the next couple of months, the existing lookout will be barricaded with fences, and removal of the old structure will take place.

Gilmour says, "Over winter the new structure will be built on the western side of the original footprint.  Then, a much larger, hexagonal platform will extend out over the bush.

It has been a long road to this point, and not all of the details have been finalised, but it has been an honour to work with the many hapū associated with Parihaka, to find a design that is worthy of the site.”