Fear and loathing

over West Coast Māori heritage sites

The reaction to council letters telling some West Coast landowners their properties contain sites of significance to Māori has generated more heat than light. Is the agitation warranted? Lois Williams reports on what it all means. 

In the past week, dozens of West Coast landowners have been told for the first time that they have a site of significance to Māori on their land.

As part of the work on a new district plan for the region and to comply with the law, the two coast iwi Ngāti Waewae and Kāti Māhaki ki Makaawhio - known as Poutini Ngāi Tahu - have had to identify places important to them, for historical or other reasons, on public and private land.

The 216 sites listed by the iwi include old burial and pa sites, but also landmark hills, places where noho wānanga (schools of learning) were held or famous battles were fought.

That’s caused something of a panic in some quarters - in part because council letters to affected landowners don’t say what and where the Māori-interest sites are on their properties.

Link to article: Fear and loathing over West Coast Māori heritage sites (msn.com)


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