Te Parinui o Whiti / White Bluffs

Last Modified: 21-3-2021 23:48


Te Parinui o Whiti , Te Taumata O Matahourua, or White Bluffs
Te Parinui o Whiti , Te Taumata O Matahourua, or White Bluffs
© Christopher Cookson  License this image

Te Parinui o Whiti, Te Taumata O Matahourua (a reference to the waka of Kupe, the Polynesian navigator after whom many Marlborough places are named), or White Bluffs are steep cliffs up to about 200 metres high at the eastern boundary of the Wither Hills Ecological District where it meets the sea, immediately to the south of the Wairau Lagoons. The cliffs are composed of layers of conglomerates, mudstone and sandstone originating in the Miocene (23-5 million years ago). The cliffs are eroding, with signficant sudden loss of material recorded as a result of seismic events. The Te Parinui o Whiti marks a traditional tribal boundary with Ngāi Tahu claiming land to the south with other tribes of the Wairau occupying the land further north, although different iwi may not necessarily recognise the same boundaries.

Proposed Recreation Reserve

An 1884 letter to the editor of the Marlborough Express proposed setting aside the area as a recreational reserve.

Ngāi Tahu Treaty Settlement

Te Parinui o Whiti was included in the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement in 1998 with land transferred to Ngāi Tahu and a convenant entered into between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Minister of Conservation on behalf of the Crown. The covenant provided for public access along the foreshore at the foot of the cliffs. (Although public access to the foreshore is permitted, there is no public access from the Wairau Lagoons to reach the foreshore.)

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Cite this page

Cookson, C. (2021). Te Parinui o Whiti / White Bluffs. Retrieved December, 5, 2023, from