Indigenous | Ngāti Rangi

Future of alpine skifields still uncertain

As winter approaches, the fate of the ski season on Ruapehu continues to hang in the balance.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, which operates Whakapapa and Tūroa Skifields, is in voluntary administration, and creditors are preparing to vote on a plan for the ski fields early next month.

Ngāti Rangi chair Whetu Moataane says his iwi, which has kaitiakitanga over Ruapehu, is still in discussions about the next course of action.

“We’re very clear that this area, the Ruapehu region, what’s been happening up on the mountain has a major impact economically and socially here at home. We’re always looking for ways to support our people, to provide employment opportunities for uri and the community.

“Should it close? I don’t know. That’s a conversation that we still need to have not only with the government but, more importantly, within ourselves here in the community.”

Other iwi - and crowd funding possibility

Kānoa, the regional economic development and investment unit, is considering bids for the ski fields. But Moataane wants to make sure that whoever the buyers are, that they know who the kaitiaki are too.

“Firstly, Ngāti Rangi is not the only iwi of the mountain. There are other iwi here. People need to be aware and build a relationship with all the iwi.

“We are very keen for these bidders to think about what their relationship is going to be with us. We are very clear on our expectations of the environment.”

It comes as some past developments on the maunga have gone ahead without consultation with iwi, according to Moataane.

Even as lifetime pass holders for the ski fields are wanting to crowdfund millions of dollars, Moataane says it could be one of more potential options to consider as buyers too and wants to include them in the discussions “in the near future”.

Public Interest Journalism