Protecting the area’s environmental and historical heritage has inspired a community-led initiative at an important public space at Otama.

Paul Kington from the Otama Reserves Group says learning more about the history of the village reserve currently managed by the Department of Conservation prompted the action. “The Otama Reserves Group recently formed earth mounds around the reserve to protect the historic pa site,” he says. “This was done in conjunction with DOC and all materials and labour were paid for by local residents and ratepayers. The aim is not just to protect the location by limiting vehicles and encouraging foot traffic only, but to educate both locals and visitors about the significance of the site. 

“We are looking at installing some information boards which will tell people about the settlement that used to be here. Like us, most people are not aware of this part of our history and we think it is important not just to know about it, but also to protect and respect it.” 

Paul says the project has been a really good example of agencies coming together to support a community goal. “DOC have contributed their expertise, including an archaeologist who visited, examined and mapped out the features of the pa,” he says. “We also have support from iwi and both Waikato Regional Council and Thames- Coromandel District Council who are assisting us with the planting which will go in on the earth mounds over the coming months.”

The group also hopes to eventually create picnic areas on the reserve for visitors to enjoy.

Republished courtesy of The Informer