7 May 2015

Iwi dismisses fears of imported labour

10:47 am on 7 May 2015

A Far North iwi leader is dismissing fears the Chinese company expanding a luxury resort on the Karikari Peninsula will import Chinese labour to build it.

Peppers Carrington Resort

Peppers Carrington Resort Photo: SUPPLIED

Shanghai CRED Real Estate, which recently built workers' accommodation at nearby Whatuwhiwhi, has just bought the local Top Ten Holiday Park, prompting claims it is about to bring in Chinese workers.

The company - which is also the new owner of Peppers Carrington Resort - employs about 40 local people.

Ngati Kahu chief executive Anahera Herbert said Shanghai CRED had told the runanga it planned to employ New Zealanders, and that the holiday park would cater for tourists on a budget.

"I'm confident they'll do what they told us they'll do, and they haven't broken their promises to us yet," she said.

"Mind you, our antennae are always alert, but I cannot operate on rumours or fears and the facts are they've been nothing but honourable and honest with us, to this point."

Mrs Herbert said Shanghai CRED had been more obliging than the resort's previous American owner in resolving iwi concerns about wahi tapu, and Ngati Kahu had reached an out-of-court settlement with the company over long-standing resource consent issues.

She said a Ngati Kahu delegation would travel to China next week to cement the friendly relationship as guests of the company for a cultural exchange, which would become an annual event.

"When they came here, we moved to manaaki (look after) and mentor them to show them how we work, and how they can work with us, and now this is their way of reciprocating, to show how they work in their own land," Mrs Herbert said.

"And there's the aspect of us looking for opportunities by which whanau and hapu can benefit more from what is, really, a new partnership with our new manuhiri (guests)."

The Ngati Kahu delegation to Shanghai will include Mrs Herbert; Ngati Kahu chair Dr Margaret Mutu; four kaumatua and kuia; four young people; and several others who would pay their own way.

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