Mayor seeks legal advice on Te Mata Peak track

10:00 pm on 29 December 2017

Removing a controversial walking track on Te Mata Peak near Havelock North would require legal advice, the mayor of Hastings says.

The view from the top of Te Mata Peak near Hastings.

Te Mata Peak Photo: filedimage/123RF

The Craggy Range winery, which built the track on the Tukituki River side of Te Mata Peak, has agreed to remove it after pressure from Hawke's Bay iwi Ngāti Kahungunu.

Ngāti Kahungunu argued the track disfigured the side of the mountain which depicted the reclining figure of an ancestral chief.

However, local residents have made use of the track, with some saying they [ wanted it retained as a healthy amenity].

The track earlier won resource consent from council officials.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said she would like comment from officials as to whether any further resource consent would be needed to get rid of it.

"I am not sure of the legal implications and we will be seeking advice," she said.

In the meantime, access to the track has been blocked off, and traffic cones have been placed on an adjacent stretch of roadway to stop would-be trampers from parking there to get to the track.

Sandra Hazlehurst said she would consider all parties to the dispute.

"I hear there are now 6000 names on a petition to support the future of the track," she said.

"We will consider both the petition - those folk who are very anti (removal of the track) - and we will also listen needs of our iwi and their concerns."

Ms Hazlehurst said she wanted a meeting as soon as possible but was hampered by people's availability during the Christmas holidays.

The track up Te Mata Peak has earned criticism from iwi.

The track up Te Mata Peak has earned criticism from iwi. Photo: Supplied / Peter Fowler

Removal of the track has been opposed by the petition organiser from nearby Waimarama, Rebecca McNeur.

She said trying to remove the track would cause more environmental damage than leaving it there, and having another walking track in the region would benefit healthy recreation.

However, Ngāti Kahungunu leader Ngahiwi Tomoana said the track had to be removed, and he was glad Craggy Range Winery had agreed to do so.

Mr Tomoana rejected a suggestion the track would be valuable for people getting healthy through exercise, saying there were other places they could get that exercise.

Problems with getting rid of the track stem partly from the area's steep terrain, which would make the use of compacting machinery potentially dangerous.

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