26 Apr 2013

DoC seeks resolution to cultural desecration claim

7:08 am on 26 April 2013

The Department of Conservation on the Chatham Islands is looking to resolve allegations of cultural violation through talks instead of any prosecution.

Last week, the Hokotehi Moriori Trust said that a group of locals drank alcohol, took drugs and made lewd gestures towards some sacred kopi trees in the JM Barker Hapupu National Historic Reserve, which is protected under DoC legislation.

The trust also laid a complaint with police.

DoC area manager Jim Clarkson says he is working on a mediation process to bring together the alleged offenders and the trust.

Mr Clarkson says he has spoken with the parties independently and they seem willing to talk about the issues which he feels may have been blown out of proportion.

DoC and the trust are already involved with a preservation project to save the last of the carved kopi trees in the Hapupu National Historic Reserve.