The Dominion Post

Te Mata Peak park applicatio­n sent back

- Marty Sharpe

A proposal heralded as the answer to Hastings’ Te Mata Peak track debacle has been returned to the applicants because there’s no evidence tangata whenua were consulted in the proper manner.

Last month, three Hawke’s Bay businessme­n said they would buy the land containing the controvers­ial Craggy Range walking track on the eastern side of the peak.

Mike Wilding, Andy Lowe and Jonathan McHardy planned to purchase the land from Jeff Drabble and Felicity DobellBrow­n so it could be turned into a regional park, administer­ed by a newly formed trust.

Te Rongo Charitable Trust applied to Hastings District Council last month to subdivide the land in order to create the park, which would cover about 50ha.

But the council has returned the trust’s applicatio­n because it failed to include various pieces of informatio­n.

One of these was detail showing that there had been genuine and meaningful consultati­on Robert MacDonald Waimarama kauma¯tua

with tangata whenua.

Waimarama kauma¯ tua Robert MacDonald said he was surprised proper consultati­on had not occurred in light of the furore following the track’s constructi­on in late 2017, with the district council accepting it should not have granted consent on a non-notified basis, and that the peak’s cultural importance had not been fully considered.

‘‘Consultati­on means a little bit more than ringing someone and asking ‘what do you think?’ It’s not a difficult procedure but it has to be done properly.

‘‘I’ve always told them that in light of what happened we would need to go through the correct process. I’d need to take it back to our people and see what they think. That hasn’t MacDonald said.

The founding trustees of the new trust are Nga¯ ti Kahungunu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham.

Hapu¯ and marae representi­ng the mana whenua will be 50 per cent partners in the new park with the regional council.

Graham said the fact the iwi was a partner in the trust should have shown that tangata whenua had been consulted but he had asked Tomoana to ensure all hapu¯ were in agreement before re-submitting the applicatio­n.

‘‘I can’t see how they [the district council] could think there hasn’t been consultati­on when the iwi is the partner. The iwi represents all tangata whenua in Kahungunu.’’

If the applicatio­n to subdivide was not granted the purchase would not proceed and the park would not be created, Graham said.

Tomoana could not be reached for comment.

The district council is presently in the process of filling in the track. It was last month granted resource consent to remediate the remaining sections. occurred,’’

‘‘Consultati­on means a little bit more than ringing someone and asking ‘what do you think?’ ’’

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