Iwi frustrated as locals take to Te Mata Peak track

8:16 pm on 28 December 2017

The Hawke's Bay tribe that sought to have a track on Te Mata Peak removed is disappointed the path is proving popular with locals.

The new track has proved popular with locals. About 30 cars were counted parked at the base yesterday.

The new track has proved popular with locals. About 30 cars were counted parked at the base yesterday. Photo: Supplied / Peter Fowler

Craggy Range Winery has agreed to remove the new track and restore the land after it was criticised by Ngāti Kahungunu and the Environmental Defence Society.

Cycle tracks and walkways and even a road have covered the other side of Te Mata peak for years, but the iwi said the track disfigured the mountain which depicted the reclining figure of ancestral chief Rongokako.

People have been flocking to the track since it was unveiled however, something Ngāti Kahungunu Trust chair Ngahiwi Tomoana was unhappy about.

"To hear now that it is being used is concerning and disappointing," he said.

"There was no consultation when it was etched into the mountain, and now it is being used by the general public.

"Just because it is popular does not make it right."

Mr Tomoana said he had been assured by the winery it would restore the land, and he expected that to happen.

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

It is not clear when the work will be done, but Mr Tomoana said he wanted it done as soon as possible, and he would meet with the winery in the next couple of days.

He also rejected a suggestion this track would be valuable for people getting healthy by getting lots of exercise, saying they could get that exercise elsewhere.

Craggy Range chief executive Michael Wilding earlier apologised about the new track.

"We never intended to alienate or divide any part of our community by developing the public track and we believe it is in the best interests of the broader community that a swift resolution occurs," Mr Wilding said.

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