Enhancement of cultural understanding: Riccarton House & Bush

The Riccarton Bush Enhancement Project will encourage public interest use and participation and will promote the natural and cultural heritage values of the site.

Pūtaringamotu / Riccarton Bush is a place of huge cultural and ecological significance both to Māori and Pakeha, and both locally and nationally. For Ngāi Tūāhuriri/Ngāi Tahu Pūtaringamotu was a site of one of the many kāika (settlements) established between Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and the Waimakariri River, and an area frequented by Ngāi Tahu tohunga (healers) and was significant for Mahinga Kai/food gathering. This place is also central to the European settlement history of Christchurch, the Deans brothers being very early European settlers of the Canterbury plains.

Pūtaringamotu / Riccarton Bush and its surrounds tell the story of the Deans family through the existing buildings, but it is currently much less effective in conveying its cultural history. Its Mana Whenua cultural narrative has been developed by Matapopore Charitable Trust, the cultural design and advisory consultancy established by Ngāi Tūāhuriri, in whose rohe Pūtaringamotu is located, and for whom the place has huge significance.

It’s a place rich in flora and fauna, and while some signage is in place to support learning and to grow an understanding of the culture and heritage of Pūtaringamotu, so much more can be done in this area. The plan includes the development of a waharoa – a traditional entranceway/structure for the bush outside its predator-proof fence, sharing the cultural narrative of this special place and inviting people into the bush to learn more.

Information boards, installations and artworks planned to be placed throughout the bush aim to foster a deeper understanding of the usage and importance of particular plants and wildlife by Māori for healing and for kai.
The Riccarton Bush Trust is seeking funds to develop the waharoa, and redevelop paths, entrance gates, seating and gathering areas to make these safe and user-friendly for all.

Irrigation and fire protection infrastructure will be upgraded, and interpretation and signage upgraded in a cohesive manner that engages all senses and explores culture and context, flora and fauna, values, and knowledge, supporting interaction and learning.

Together, the components of the Master Plan are strongly focused on unlocking the cultural and heritage potential of our whenua, Pūtaringamotu / Riccarton Bush, and in doing so, improving wellbeing by enabling participation in a heritage, culture and environmental experience in the outdoors and building understanding and knowledge of Ngāi Tūāhuriri and their history in the area.

Certain areas of the boardwalk have started to deteriorate, the concrete paths have become uneven, posing a tripping hazard. Additionally, the signage is outdated, providing visitors with limited information on the cultural importance of this special place.


The Future

The Enhancement project aims to achieve the following objectives:
Integrate Ngāi Tūāhuriri values, associations, and narratives into the design, art, entrance experience, and
interpretation of Pūtaringamotu/Riccarton Bush. Improve the track system and infrastructure.
Develop the Grove area to accommodate larger groups visiting Pūtaringamotu/ Riccarton Bush.
Provide educational interpretation that encourages engagement and participation.

Donate Now

To ensure the future of Riccarton Bush, a total of 2.4 million is needed to fund the Enhancement project. Your donation can help protect, conserve, and enhance this important landmark for future generations.

Enhancement Project


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