The external space between the buildings have been named to commemorate Te Wera, a Ngāi Tahu warrior chief.
On his father’s side he was descended from Turakautahi the founder of Kaiapoi Pa. On his mother’s side he was descended from Te Ruahikihiki a warrior chief from Kaikoura.
One of the many famous proverbs attributed to Te Wera captures the essence of this fighting chief;
“Taku whakaaro i mate rangatira i te tāpapa whawhai”.
“My thought is that it is an honourable death to die fighting.”
Many years after the Ngāi Tahu occupation of the area, other warriors came to the site following the land being set aside by the Canterbury Provincial Council in 1864 as a parade ground for the volunteer army of the time.
The site has long had an association with the military as a military barracks, from which many New Zealanders have left for war from the facilities erected on these grounds. It is therefore fitting to commemorate Te Wera, as a warrior chief, and also those other warriors since his time that have left for other shores.
Within the Gardens will be story boards outlining Te Wera’s life, together with a soldiers or veterans corner in which you might sit and contemplate the past as well as the future.