Regional | Māori

Ngāti Kahu says enough to desecration of Tokerau beach

“The desecration of our sand dunes has been going on for way too long.”

Hapu on the Karikari Peninsula is calling for a rāhui to protect the unique ecology on beaches like Tokerau.

A meeting was held at Haiti-Tai-Marangai Marae in Whatuwhiwhi to explore a ban on vehicle access to the beach in order to protect the area’s holy sites and animals after Ngti Kahu voiced concerns about environmental degradation to beaches on the Peninsula.

Over the last twenty years, as more people visit this part of the country, the dunes have been affected by motorised vehicles travelling over the dunes. Nina Raharuhi from Haiti-Tai-Marangai Marae says the peninsula has a unique ecology and she has called for the rāhui.

“The desecration of our dunes has been going on for way too long. Within the whole of our peninsula, we have kōiwi, we have whale bones, we have middens, and we have flora and fauna that are unique just to our peninsula.”

“I want to lay a rāhui all through the Karikari Peninsula against motorised vehicles.”

And the battle doesn’t end there. Just this year, hapu say they have been fighting a local landowner after he had destroyed part of the sand dunes so that he could get his boat out to the water.

Kiringāwai Evans from Te Whānau Moana and Te Rorohuri says hapu were initially unaware of the land owner’s actions.

“He has been here since 2019 and we’ve actually been stopping him and opposing his request for development. We are absolutely furious that he is not listening.”

The land owner has been granted consent from the council to construct another accessway. Kiringāwai says that it’s a wāhi tapu.

“With the two accessways he now wants to open, he is creating more flow of cars and traffic there and people are going to the toilet in the sand dunes and leaving toilet paper, there’s rubbish left, there are no facilities. So we are really angry because that’s on our wāhi tapu.”