11 Jun 2019

Te Mata Peak track: Hastings Council apologises to iwi

4:30 pm on 11 June 2019

Hastings District Council has formally apologised to local iwi over the way it allowed Craggy Range winery to build a zig-zagging track up Te Mata Peak.

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

Independent commissioners have today begun hearing oral submissions after the council applied for a resource consent to repair the track.

Most of the 25 written submissions were in favour of remediating the track.

Speaking at the hearing, the council's principal advisor relationships, responsiveness and heritage James Graham said he apologised to mana whenua for not consulting with them.

"I also acknowledge the individual and collective anxiety, the pain, the hurt and the unnecessary offence that may have been caused to the district," he said.

He said if the council had engaged with them then an incorrect resource consent allowing the track to be build in 2017 would never have happened.

"I apologise to mana whenua in that the appropriate marae and hapū were not consulted, nor engaged."

"If the resource consenting process had been correctly followed, this whole situation, and the expense, time, commitment and energy could have been avoided."

An independent inquiry found Hastings District Council failed to consult with the public and iwi on Craggy Range's application to build a track up the eastern slope of Te Mata Peak in 2017.

Last year, the council agreed to foot the bill for repairing the track which is estimated to cost up to $1 million in consultancy and landscaping fees.

James Graham said the council had made significant changes since then, including a concerted effort to improve its working relationship with iwi.

This included appointing a tangata whenua member of the Māori joint committee to each of the council's standing committees to increase their voice on council issues, he said.

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