RE: UPDATE ON INFORMATION GAINED REGARDING COTTON ROAD (FRASER PROPERTY) SALE AND ACCESS
Nga mihi o te wa i roto i tenei wa taimaha. He mihi hoki ki nga tini aitua kua hinga atu, haere koutou, haere koutou, haere koutou a, kati ake. Ki a tatou te hunga ora tena tatou katoa.
PTB was grateful for the opportunity to hear from the Leigh Butler and Lisa Watson at our Board meeting last night. They provided background and context to the issues around the Fraser Property currently for sale and the access to Takahiwai Road. We have also sought information from WDC and Heritage NZ/Pouhere Taonga which arrived this week.
It was distressing to hear our whanau speak of witnessing the desecration of our waahi tapu and on land adjacent to their homes over decades, feeling unheard by authorities and the ongoing frustration at the activities impacting on the integrity of the waahi tapu and the surrounding cultural landscape.
It is a challenging situation and while the land on which the internal roadway is located was sold in 1992 and converted from Māori to General title thereafter, we have identified the local council rules and some RMA process issues and options for progressing the kaupapa as we see it.
(FYI We’ve also attached Heritage Pouhere Taonga report; email from WDC and 2013 Maori Land Court Decision on land sale.)
RMA process with WDC:
Under the RMA, the work is deemed “permitted” (farm track/access maintenance).
There are no current applications for subdivision at this stage before the Council, so no potential to engage that way yet.
We note the Maori Land court decision indicates there are still restrictions on the roadway and Planning Overlays on the Regional and District Plans will likely require community engagement and other technical assessments such as a traffic assessment. However there is still a risk that future subdivision of the site could result in creation of a formal through-road at Takahiwai so it is essential to secure a platform for engagement with our community.
The “Patuharakeke Sites of Significance overlay” was submitted to WDC in 2016 and includes the entire Mangawhati area. These sites are also mapped in our Patuharakeke Hapu Environmental Management Plan (HEMP) lodged in 2014 – so Council is aware of these sites and it is an official planning document for the purposes of the RMA. PTB will seek an urgent meeting with WDC to stress the importance of these being formally scheduled in the District Plan and get assurances as to how the existing operative plan provisions will offer protection of the sites in the interim.
There is also an opportunity for Patuharakeke to tono to hold the next Te Karearea forum at Takahiwai marae. WDC Councillors will be in attendance so can we raise the take in front of them also.
Heritage NZ/ Pouhere Taonga Act:
Heritage NZ investigation states no damage to archaeological sites.
We will ensure Heritage NZ has a copy of the Patuharakeke Sites of Significance Overlay and a copy of the Patuharakeke HEMP.
Direct contact/relationship/engagement with Don Fraser:
PTB offer on behalf of the Hapū to initiate discussions with Don Fraser to attempt to understand what exactly is contemplated and whether there is any opportunity to broker alternative outcomes ie. that could include protection of Pakauhokio and restrict road access through a covenant or similar mechanism.
We are of the view that this highly important korero confronting us should be happening inside the safety of our whare tupuna, kanohi ki te kanohi and will prioritise setting a hui where all concerns and possible solutions can be aired by whanau as soon as the Covid19 restrictions are lifted and we are able to use the Wharehui again.