27 Mar 2012

Iwi angered by Mt Ruapehu car rally

8:04 pm on 27 March 2012

Ruapehu District Council is being criticised by a local iwi for allowing a car rally to go ahead in Tongariro National Park.

Ngati Rangi says it is dismayed vehicles taking part in the Ohakune Giant 1000 will tear all over Mt Ruapehu this Saturday and Sunday.

The tribe says the maunga is the spiritual altar and burial ground of the tangata whenua.

Ngati Rangi Trust pouarahi, or executive manager, Che Wilson says some cars smashed into trees during last year's rally.

He says no environmental assessment has been carried out of the damage done to flora and fauna.

Mr Wilson says encouraging "hooning" up Ohakune Mountain Road is just not on.

He says Ngati Rangi is fed up with its maunga being abused, and the iwi has taken a stance to protect the maunga and Tongariro National Park.

He says the area has gained international recognition due to its natural beauty and cultural significance, and asks why the area is being treated badly.

The Ruapehu mayor could not be reached for comment.

But Ohakune Giant 1000 event manager Max Hodder says no trees were badly damaged by the rally cars.

Mr Hodder says there was good consultation with the iwi last year, and he thought the relationship was intact.