27 Dec Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Tama: Mt Messenger Bypass Pānui – 27 December 2019)
E aku nui, e aku rahi, tēnā koutou katoa!
As many of you know, the Rūnanga has been working with the New Zealand Transport Authority (Waka Kōtahi, NZTA) for the past 3 years on planning for a safer and more reliable road to the north. Our local communities have come out strongly for a new road, including Ngāti Mutunga and other Iwi, and the proposed Mt Messenger Bypass offers this for all of Taranaki.
The Environment Court released an interim decision about the Mt Messenger Bypass resource consents. The decision is positive for the bypass, the Rūnanga, and NZTA, and for an appeal we lodged in support of our kaitiaki rights. The Court will issue a final decision in the New Year, following a decision from the Iwi on whether we enter into an agreement with NZTA.
We’ve been talking with members about the Mt Messenger Bypass for some time, most recently at the information sharing hui and at our Annual General Meeting in September. Your feedback to us about Ngati Tama’s involvement in the project, has, on the whole, been supportive of the proposed bypass and our position.
As your mandated Rūnanga, we have passed a unanimous resolution to enter agreements with NZTA, which include:
- pest management in perpetuity over our 3,650 hectares, which includes the Parininihi estate. (This is urgent mahi, and if it is not done now, pests will continue to destroy our native plants, birds, and animals);
- work opportunities for our people;
- a significant cultural mitigation payment into a separate trust for the benefit of our Iwi; and
- an exchange of 22 hectares (approx) of our land for 120 hectares (approx) of coastal Parininihi property to build the bypass. Certainly, this offers us a lot more land, and, critically, it is land that contains our numerous pā sites, wāhi tapu, and wai tapu, and is of huge cultural significance to us. Our tupuna fought hard to hold this land and were renown for barring ‘the way to hostile incursions from the north’, effectively holding the ‘keys of Taranaki’. The exchanged land would reconnect us with the north and means we no longer need to request access permission from other landowners. It must come back to us.
There will shortly be an opportunity for Ngati Tama to vote on whether we should finalise the agreements with NZTA. We are treating this decision as a ‘major transaction’ under our constitution. So, we’d like to talk with you about why we’re supporting this and to answer any of your questions. We’ll soon post the dates of our various hui to be held in the New Year, so please keep a close eye on this space.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Tama