Te Mata Peak track removal 'not a cheap thing to do'

by Eric Frykberg / 04 January, 2018

The Te Mata walking track. Photo: RNZ / Supplied

The winery that built a track on Te Mata Peak has agreed to remove it after iwi pressure, but it might not be easy or cheap to do.

Removing a controversial walking track on Te Mata Peak near Havelock North is technically possible but would be very difficult, according to the man who designed and built it.

The path zig-zags up the steep slope of Te Mata Peak, on the Tukituki River side of the mountain.

Nearby Craggy Range Winery ordered the construction of the track after earlier buying the land around it.

But the winery has now agreed to remove it after coming under pressure from the Hawke's Bay iwi, Ngāti Kahungunu.

The tribe argued the path disfigured a mountain which depicted the reclining figure of an ancestral chief.

But some locals want the track retained, and many have used it, despite the path being officially closed off and bollards placed on an adjacent road to discourage would-be trampers from parking there.

The path was designed and built by a Rotorua mountain biker and trail designer, Jeff Carter.

He said removing it could be done but would be difficult.

"To reinstate the hillside we would work from the top down, taking the dirt that we put on the side of the track and putting it back into the track formation," he said.

"We would then try to put grass back on top."

Mr Carter said it would be very difficult to make the hillside look the way it did before the track was built, and the work would be expensive.

"It is not a cheap thing to do, it would have similar costs to the initial construction ($300,000)."

Jeff Carter said 12 months would be needed for a covered-up track to be grassed over and merge back into its original appearance - the same amount of time for the track itself to merge into the hillside if it was left there untouched.

"If you look at the neighbouring farms, they have got bulldozer tracks that are grassed over and no one thinks twice about it.

"In 12 months time, you probably won't see this track either."

Meanwhile, the track has divided the local community, with two rival petitions competing for signatures.

One petition, by a Maraetotara woman, Anna Archibald, has gathered over 5,200 signatures, and calls for the track to be removed.

The new track has proved popular with locals. About 30 cars were counted parked at the base yesterday. Photo / Peter Fowler

Ms Archibald said the path was approved without involvement from Iwi and the public, and compromised an outstanding natural feature.

A rival petition, organised by a Waimarama woman, Rebecca McNeur, has gathered over 7,600 signatures and wants the path retained.

She argued Craggy Range's actions in building the track were kind and generous and created an amenity that everyone could use.

Hastings District Council said earlier it would seek legal advice on whether removing the track would need resource consent.

Consent was needed to build it in the first place.

It is not clear what message the council got back from its lawyers.

Nor has it been possible to find out if Craggy Range Winery might have a legal claim against the Hastings District Council.

This would compensate the company for huge expenses incurred after the council gave the OK.

Neither the winery, nor the Mayor of Hastings, could be reached for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst has told councillors in an email that she hopes to have her first meeting on this matter early next week.

It will involve herself, the CEO of Craggy Range Winery, Michael Wilding, the Ngāti Kahungunu leader Ngahiwi Tomoana and the chairman of the Te Mata Park Trust Board Mike Devonshiore.

A local councillor, Malcolm Dixon, expects the meeting will be just an early-stage "cup of tea" which is unlikely to reach a solution.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

Latest

Should we bring our fallen soldiers home?
90004 2018-04-25 00:00:00Z Television

Should we bring our fallen soldiers home?

by Fiona Rae

One of our most successful writers visited six countries to speak to the families of those buried in Commonwealth war graves.

Read more
This may be the most beautiful natural history documentary ever
90022 2018-04-25 00:00:00Z Television

This may be the most beautiful natural history doc…

by Fiona Rae

Will Smith and Darren Aronofsky come together to create a jaw-dropping documentary about Planet Earth.

Read more
Lest they forget: Anzac books for children and young readers
90033 2018-04-25 00:00:00Z Books

Lest they forget: Anzac books for children and you…

by Ann Packer

In time for Anzac Day, books for younger readers make war stories easy to digest.

Read more
Scout cafe owner Roger Liu opens Woolfy’s, a new place to eat in east Auckland
90050 2018-04-24 14:22:44Z Auckland Eats

Scout cafe owner Roger Liu opens Woolfy’s, a new p…

by Kate Richards

East Auckland gets a new cafe, Woolfy's, from the brains behind Scout in Torbay.

Read more
How to find your family's Anzac history online
90042 2018-04-24 13:16:14Z History

How to find your family's Anzac history online

by Peter Griffin

As Anzac Day looms there’s an opportunity to delve into millions of World War I documents, which are available for a limited time.

Read more
Grey District's retiring mayor Tony Kokshoorn, the accidental author
90027 2018-04-24 11:31:52Z Profiles

Grey District's retiring mayor Tony Kokshoorn, the…

by Clare de Lore

Grey District's long-serving mayor, Tony Kokshoorn, is retiring from politics next year. We look back at a 2016 profile from the Listener archives.

Read more
The Australian Government has gone to war with itself
89860 2018-04-24 00:00:00Z World

The Australian Government has gone to war with its…

by Bernard Lagan

Sydney swelters and the ruling Liberal Party is bitterly divided between progressives and pro-coal conservatives.

Read more
Why Witi Ihimaera wants New Zealand to bring its war dead home
89883 2018-04-24 00:00:00Z Profiles

Why Witi Ihimaera wants New Zealand to bring its w…

by Clare de Lore

Witi Ihimaera's journey to Commonwealth war graves for a new documentary, In Foreign Fields, is both personal and political.

Read more