Balancing the need to protect the cultural significance of the natural landscape of the eastern face of Te Mata Peak with the rights of landowners in the area was highlighted at a Hastings District Council meeting today about a proposed draft district plan change to set boundaries for building on this side of the peak.
Today the Heretaunga Takoto Noa Māori Standing Committee considered options to provide for a greater level of protection than currently exists for Te Matā Te Tipuna.
This aimed to ensure that the relationship of Māori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, wāhi tapu and other taonga are appropriately recognised and provided for in respect to this location.
Such considerations were required for Council to fulfil its obligations under the Resource Management Act (RMA).
The proposal to re-set the building prohibition line came about following a Cultural Aspirations Report commissioned by Hastings District Council, which was carried out by Te Manaaki Taiao of Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.
Currently this building prohibition line sits on the 240m contour of the maunga, which takes it from the ridgeline to just below the rocky outcrop on the eastern face.
The Cultural Aspirations Report recommended that the prohibition line be lowered to the 200m contour line.
Since this report was completed, it was suggested that this building prohibition line did not go far enough, and the option to extend the line further, down to Waimārama Rd, was put forward as a means to provide even greater cultural protection.
In deliberating moving the prohibition line, councillors and committee members today considered the advantages and disadvantages of each, and agreed to a new recommendation put forward by Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.
Mrs Hazlehurst said that more than 20 years ago, Council addressed the prohibition line on the western face of Te Mata to protect the maunga, the district’s most culturally significant, outstanding natural landscape.
“It is important that the recommendations from our Māori Standing Committee Heretaunga Takoto Noa consider a prohibition line option that will achieve the highest level of protection of this culturally unique and beautiful landscape, while considering the land owners’ property rights in our deliberations.
“While the wider community will have the opportunity to have their say through the publically notified plan change process, it is important that we capture all views before we settle on a future direction. It is important we get this right.”
As such, the committee agreed that the council would engage with the affected landowners and outline to them the option of moving the prohibition line to Waimārama Rd, or an alternative solution, to meet the aspirations of mana whenua, landowners and the wider community.
They also agreed that the committee would direct that wāhi tapu sites identified in the Cultural Assessment report should be included as part of this plan change and ensure that hapu know that the wāhi tapu would be in the public arena and in the district plan.
The outcomes of these discussions would be reported back to the Heretaunga Takoto Noa Māori Standing Committee and the District Planning and Bylaws committee at the earliest possible date.
After this, any recommendations would then go to the full council for consideration, and any options adopted would go out for full public consultation process under the RMA before any changes were made.
2 March 2022
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