Te Urewera hut found burnt after court injunction against removal

4:47 pm on 29 November 2022
Te Urewera in the North Island.

Te Uru Taumatua says it is abiding by the current order of the High Court from November. (File picture) Photo: 123rf

A hut in Te Urewera has mysteriously burned down while a court order for no huts to be removed from the area is in place.

The Otamatuna Hut in the Waimana Valley was found burned down this morning.

Te Uru Taumatua (TUT), the Ngāi Tūhoe iwi settlement entity, was controversially dismantling huts in the area that it said were derelict.

But in early November, the High Court put a stop to this.

In a statement, TUT said a trapper contracted by them as part of pest control in Waimana Valley saw the hut was "burnt down" and told iwi staff this morning.

TUT kaimahi (staff) were going to the site to inspect the damage.

TUT said it was abiding by the current order of the High Court from November that no huts be removed from Te Urewera, pending a hearing on the matter.

Staff were not aware how the hut had burned down.

TUT said the hut decommissioning programme, while described as "burning" in the media, involved methodical deconstruction with burning as only one part of the process.

"It was carried out subject to strict health and safety procedures by supervised teams in appropriate weather," the statement read.

TUT said it had informed the Department of Conservation.

The Department of Conservation said it would inform police.

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