28 Mar 2012

Mayor backs iwi to put brakes on mountain car rally

8:28 am on 28 March 2012

The mayor of Ruapehu District Council has stepped in to stop a car rally on Mount Ruapehu, after criticism from a local tribe.

Ngati Rangi has been critical of the council for allowing the Ohakune Giant 1000 in Tongariro National Park and took a stand to protect the maunga, or mountain.

Mayor Sue Morris says she fully supports the iwi.

She says Mount Ruapehu is a sacred and unique part of the region, and the road was not built for rally cars.

Ms Morris says there was heated debate at the district council table on Monday over the future of the rally.

Meanwhile, Ohakune Giant 1000 organiser Max Hodder says he has council permission to use Ohakune Mountain Road from Saturday.

But he has told Radio New Zealand he has cancelled the rally, because he cannot guarantee safety around a picnic planned by Ngati Rangi.