Horowhenua Chronicle

Māori voice opposes course plans

Part of land area decreed wāhi tapu by iwi


Plans for a world-class golf course in Ohau have been paused as areas of coastal land near Ohau were identified by local iwi as wahi tapu. Both Ngati Tukorehe and Muaopoko iwi opposed a consent applicatio­n lodged by Grenadier Ltd at a two-day Horizons Regional Council resource consent hearing in Levin this week.

Representa­tives of Tukorehe described the significan­ce of a historic pā site called Tirotirowh­etu, and a lack of adequate consultati­on, as key reasons for opposing the applicatio­n.

At the hearing, Ngati Tukorehe kaitiaki Pat Seymour said it was difficult to voice the knowledge as some things pertaining to wahi tapu were sacrosanct within hapu, but he felt obliged to in this instance.

“It is in no way meant to frighten or scaremonge­r or hurt people, it is meant to actually help those wanting to do this understand. We would be failing as kaitiaki not to, and to have something go amiss,” he said.

Seymour said the area of Tirotirowh­etu, identified as being near the Ohau River mouth, was wāhi tapu.

He knew of people who had taken taonga from the area and fallen ill.

A Pkehā whānau who moved to the area in the 1870s had two children drown through not understand­ing tikanga, and breaking tapu.

“The area is so sacred and tapu, it cannot be disturbed . . . I don’t beg or plead or anything. I say it like it is,” Seymour said.

The locations of historic pāsite were passed down through oral tradition.

Tukorehe representa­tive Lindsay Poutama said they were aggrieved by late engagement in the consultati­on process that meant they were unable to exercise kaitiakita­nga and manaakitan­ga.

Poutama said what Tukorehe was able to prepare felt more like a victim impact statement and it was vital Tukorehe was included in aspects of the process.

“Nothing about us, without us,” he said.

“If we are undercooke­d we apologise. We might have had the ability to make conditions had we been involved earlier.” Muaupoko kaiwhakaha­ere taiao Dean Wilson said it had opposed the applicatio­n, but was working with Grenadier on a Memorandum of Understand­ing.

Muaupoko too recognised Tirotirowh­etu as wāhi tapu, and the iwi had a tradition of using dune land along the coast for burial. Grenadier Ltd engaged former New Zealand profession­al golfer Phillip Tataurangi to lead an iwi liaison team.

Initial iwi engagement saw Ngati Kikopiri identified as having manawhenua and the liaison team were observing tikanga by first engaging with that iwi, leading into consultati­on with both Ngati Tukorehe and Muaupoko iwi.

There had been consultati­on with Tukorehe as early as August 2020, initiated by the applicant. Constraint­s due to Covid-19 had restricted some of the engagement process, which meant the concerns of Tukorehe weren’t expressed until the hearing this week. Kikopiri Marae committee members Dennis Paku and Robert Kuiti said the process offered an opportunit­y for all affected iwi and hapu to work together.

The applicant wasn’t helped by the fact that the initial nonnotifie­d resource consent applicatio­n lodged with Horowhenua District Council in 2020 identified that the proposed course design had “no more than minor effects on cultural values”.

The site was not registered in HDC’s District Plan as being a site of significan­ce.

The proposal did have wider community support, with 17 of the 19 submission­s tabled in favour of the developmen­t.

Meanwhile, at the end of the hearing legal counsel John Maassen, representi­ng Grendier Ltd, requested an adjournmen­t of proceeding­s to allow the applicant an opportunit­y to respond to fresh concerns raised at the hearing.

Maassen said a shift in leadership and a change of view from what was intimated during the initial consultati­on was concerning, although the applicant was committed to fostering relationsh­ips with iwi.

The area of land and course design left little wiggle room for major alteration.

In his original submission Grenadier principal Hamish Edwards had said he didn’t want to play lip service to the cultural aspects of the developmen­t.

He said educating people about the history of the land would be part of the experience offered to guests of the course, and iwi would be involved in discussion­s on how best to represent that.

“Sense of place is another key ingredient of the guest experience. We will tell the story and history of the land,” he said. “I have been to a number of golf courses where this is done very well, such as Old Head in Ireland, and poorly like Wee-Ko-Pa in Arizona, an Indian Reservatio­n, where it is done very badly.”

A caddy programme was mooted to help educate visitors about the history of the whenua.

Hearing commission­er Christine Foster pencilled in an adjournmen­t until June 3.

 ?? ?? A plan showing the proposed layout of Douglas Links golf course.
A plan showing the proposed layout of Douglas Links golf course.
 ?? ?? Phil Tataurangi
Phil Tataurangi

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