28 Jun 2013

Mayor offers to step into roading debate

8:43 pm on 28 June 2013

Rotorua mayor Kevin Winters is offering to step into a debate between hapu and a government agency over a major city roading project.

Three hapu, including Ngati Uenukukopako, are against a new route proposed by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), partly because they fear it could cut access to cultural sites - some of which they harvest medicine from.

The Rotorua Eastern Arterial will run from Rotorua airport towards the city.

Mr Winters says he has suggested to hapu (sub-tribes) that he could advocate for them once he has been shown the sites, such as urupa, that they are concerned about.

The mayor says he knows that NZTA has been talking with hapu about their concerns. However, he says the sub-tribes are frustrated and feel the agency isn't listening to them and have turned to the council.

Mr Winters says if the hapu agree to show him around, he would like officials from NZTA to also be present.

Ngati Hurunga Te Rangi descendent Selwyn Insley on Thursday said the offer wasn't well received by some of the group and it is likely that elders will decide whether the mayor will be shown around.