February 13, 2024
Ancient highway rockets into future
A main pre-European highway for Ngāi Tahu is now home to a runway to space.
Last Friday Tāwhaki National Aerospace Centre opened its new 1km tar seal runway at Kaitorete, an hour out of Ōtautahi.
Director David Perenara-O’Connell says Wairea and Te Taumutu rūnanga are working with government to unlock the potential of aerospace.
Kaitorete has a perfect mixture of clear, undeveloped space and sky, and it’s historically important.
“It was effectively our state highway one between Te Pātaka ō Rākaehautū, the Banks Peninsula down to Otago and Southland. So the spit itself was a main highway. It has one of the largest sort of densities of archaeological sites along the coastal dune part of the spit, so long history for our hapu and iwi,” he says.