Regional | Māori

Ngāti Kahu occupy whenua following council consent to build ‘driveway’ through wāhi tapu

“We will stay here for as long as we need to, to ensure that we can protect our wāhi tapu.”

Te Whānau Moana and Te Rorohuri, hapū of Ngāti Kahu in Muriwhenua, have occupied whenua to protest the Far North District Council’s decision to grant a local landowner resource consent to build a driveway, (officially known as an easement), on what the hapu say is wāhi tapu.

Whānau from Haititai Marangai Marae in Whatuwhiwhiu on the Karikari Peninsula began the occupation today, with 200 people present to support the protest.

Since 2019, the iwi has been battling land developer Peter Hay, following a Far North Council decision to grant resource consent for a first easement.

Keringawai Evans from Haiti Marangai Marae says the iwi feels it has been painted into a corner and has no other choice but to occupy.

“We’re at that point where we need to make a stand. We need to inform council operations staff, councillors, and our mayor, taihoa; you have made a mistake.”

“This is a wāhi tapu. Someone in their staff and their processes has agreed to a second easement. So the second easement means that this developer has two driveways to the beach.”

She says iwi will not accept the decision.

“We were advised to participate in the proposed Far North District plan. Three hundred of our whānau completed submissions to say, protect Patia wāhi tapu.”

“We will stay here for as long as we need to, to ensure that we can protect our wāhi tapu.”

Far North District councillor Hilda Halkyard-Harawira says the council must do better.

“Councils need to be consistent in protecting wāhi tapu. Māori shouldn’t have to go through this mamae every time a new owner buys land. Ngāti Kahu has objected for the past 40 years to this. It seems the landowner has come to an agreement to use the existing road to the beach.”