Te Mata Peak track hearings start in Hastings
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/113384216/-

2019-06-11 06:52:43

A mirrored image of the controversial Te Mata Peak track was shown to commissioners as an example of "alternative thinking".

Hearings are under way at Hastings District Council over the track, which was carved up the sacred mountain by Craggy Range Winery in 2017 after the council granted consent without consulting iwi.

The council has already filled in the top 500 metres after a report found that section put lives at risk.

The application to restore the remainder to its natural state - at a ratepayer-funded cost of about $200,000 - is being heard over two days before commissioners Rau Kirikiri and Paul Cooney.

Stuart Perry said it was "absurd" the council wanted to "dip their hands into the ratepayers' pockets to recreate some bland pasture".

Perry said if the eastern side was sacred, "then so surely is the western side.

"To accept people tramping and cycling across tracks, to allow traffic to drive to the summit, to condone large gatherings on the car park ... and yet deny people the right to develop a track on private land seems the ultimate in hypocrisy."

He wanted to "let nature take its course. If it must go, don't waste ratepayers' precious funds".

Warwick Marshall said there had never before been an opportunity to "take in those views".

But Cooney said Marshall had "the opportunity to use the other side".

"I suppose the question is, how many tracks do you need?"

Xan Harding, from the Te Mata Peak People's Track Society, supported remediation on the condition commissioners provided direction around alternative tracks.

"There were at least three of them worked up in great detail."

Harding showed the hearing a mirrored image of the current track, and said he could see a face and arms in it. It was an example of "alternative thinking", he said.

Kirikiri was "intrigued" by the image, but said he had no idea what it meant.

Cooney said it was in the council's, not the commissioners' jurisdiction, to provide direction on alternatives.

Meanwhile, council's principal relationships advisor, Dr James Graham, apologised to mana whenua.

There were a number of learnings to come out of the process, including a significant review of the resource consent process, and new staff trained to recognise cultural values.

Tangata whenua representatives had been appointed to council standing committees, and the council had accepted remediating the remainder would be a starting point for any future discussions around the peak and its eastern escarpment.

"The sleeping giant has been startled and has put us here at council on alert. Just as the physical terrain changed in the time of Te Mata, Te Matā or Rongokako, depending on who you are talking with and/or where you come from, so too has the epistemological terrain shifted.

"Today, in 2019, it is imperative that te ao Māori and te ao Pākehā are united at the interface of council decision-making."

Three of the 26 submitters opposed the remediation. Submissions will continue on Wednesday at Waimārama Marae.

Back to the top ^

Related Articles (30)