Saturday 21st November 2021 – Later Afternoon short explore around Maketu Falls, Ōpaheke. Auckland Council web page regarding Te Maketu Walk and Pa site.
Maketu falls is accessible from Maketu Pa Cemetery Reserve. There’s a gravel parking area out the front. Entry to the established designated path is to your right under some trees. Goes up steeply then down steeply. Sturdy footwear recommended. Takes around 5 minutes to get to the falls.
The ARC brochure (2003) makes mention of information signs, but there no longer appears to be any signage nor any information panels there upon revisiting the area on 12th March 2023.
Do not remove or disturb any remains (They are an important record of the history of the area and are protected by law).
Republished 26 March 2023 / Updated 29 June 2023: Removed reference of stream “bush bash” outside of the reserve in the crown hydro parcel due to an objection that was raised. Please see details further below.
I’ve been advised that the path beside the waterfall actually leads into an area deemed Sacred (Tapu). According to the last Email received from Zaelene Maxwell-Butler (who I understand is also a Cultural Liaison Advisor and Consultant acting for Ngai Tai ki Tamaki)…
“The entire area behind the falls, upstream, the vegetated areas in our view should be considered tapu (sacred)”
The header image in the ARC brochure includes a photo of children playing in the pools upstream of the falls which based on the above claim may now no longer be deemed culturally acceptable to access. The area concerned is situated in a public / crown hydro-parcel surrounded by private pastoral land.
Had revisited Te Maketu the same day as Zaelene posted her first comment / objection below, however discovered there was no signage or other advisory present to bring attention to the ordinary public that the stream area behind the falls was Sacred. Furthermore, during the visit, had observed people similarly oblivious of this (as I was on a prior visit) heading upstream of the waterfalls.
The ARC Brochure mentions the reserves themselves as Wahi Tapu but with no mention suggesting that this status extends to the wider general area (though this is certainly not to say that it isn’t). In spite of further research including consulting the Heritage New Zealand website, I have not been able to discover any further information about the area – Zaelene’s comments are the only information I have to go on so far.
I maintain that without any sort of public advisory, I feel it is not reasonable for the general public to understand the path leading up from the waterfall enters an area that is considered tapu / sacred and had suggested to Zaelene in earlier Email communication that she instead contact the Council and Ngāti Tamaoho to express her concerns and see what could be done.