31 May 2018

Iwi and winery to build new Te Mata track together

3:53 pm on 31 May 2018

A Hawke's Bay winery and local Māori who have been at loggerheads over a track on Te Mata Peak, have announced plans to build an alternative route together.

The controversial walking track up the Eastern side of Te Mata Peak.

The controversial walking track up the Eastern side of Te Mata Peak. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Craggy Range Winery promised in December to remove the walking and cycling track cut into the eastern face of the mountain.

But earlier this month it released a report saying remediation would never get the land back to its original condition, prompting furious protests by Ngāti Kahungunu and accusations of racism.

Craggy Range Winery and the iwi have now announced plans to buy 28 hectares of land, close the existing track, and build a new one.

The plan would recognise and protect areas of cultural significance, and allows for the construction of a carpark at the start of the track, the two parties said.

In a joint statement, they said the new route would be "a spectacular track" that they hoped would attract visitors to the area.

"This will also enable [Ngāti Kahungunu] to tell the stories of the seven faces of Te Mata and Rongokako, the history of this land and other sites of cultural significance to this place."

The result was a "positive solution for everyone", they said.

"While no one wants to go through this process again, we believe out of this adversity we all have a better understanding of each other's view and are actually delivering a better solution for the whole community."

The track and land would be held in trust for the people of the iwi and the Hawkes Bay community.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said she supported the agreement, describing it as "a very positive outcome".

Given what she called "the unique circumstances" of the track and the intense public interest, it was likely that resource consent for the new track would be publicly notified, she said.

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