28 Nov 2019

Protestor locks access to Lake Horowhenua

From Morning Report, 6:12 am on 28 November 2019

A Maori activist is vowing to keep the public gates into Lake Horowhenua locked until the Government listens to him.

Phil Taueki, who has been been occupying land beside the lake for 15 years, has had a long-running dispute with Horowhenua District Council about cleaning up the lake.

It's owned by Manawatu iwi Muaūpoko, but after a parliamentary act in 1905, its administration and management became the responsibility of a government-appointed board.

It's still managed by the board and the Department of Conservation.

Yesterday Mr Taueki locked the gate and put up signs saying the lake is closed - although he has given keys to the local Sea Cadets and a dog club.

The Waitangi Tribunal has found there were significant treaty breaches in the way the lake has been controlled and administered.

Mr Taueki told RNZ reporter Hamish Cardwell he wants the Crown to follow the Tribunal's recommendations to dissolve the board and set up a new governance body.

RNZ has approached the Department of Conservation for comment.

The police say they are aware of a protestor having locked the gate but they are not involved at this point.