Four representatives from Ngai Tahu presented the findings of a cultural mapping project to members of the Waitaki District Council on Wednesday.
Takerei Norton, Christchurch, led the presentation and outlined how Ngai Tahu had mapped and recorded every Maori place name in the South Island.
He said using the latest Geographical Information System technology, Ngai Tahu have been able to record significant information about each location and plot it onto a virtual landscape. Information included the origin of the place name, stories about what occurred at the site, traditional travel routes, mahinga kai sites, animal and bird species that inhabited the site, and whether it is Maori reserved land.
Mr Norton said the technology was so sophisticated he could walk around any given site and be able to identify historical boundaries and other geographical information and compare it to what is there presently.
Ngai Tahu are currently researching all Maori land in the South Island and will add detailed information about the land’s history in terms of when it was acquired and gazetted.
Councillor Colin Wollstein said yesterday that he was very impressed with the amount of work done by Ngai Tahu.
“It’s important information, in terms of history, that will be used by future generations,” he said.
“For anyone who wants to study history it will be a very good resource.”
The idea of a cultural virtual tour of the Alps to Ocean route was briefly discussed as a good idea by councillors and may be revisited in the future.
By LINDA MCCARTHY