A Whangarei businessman has been convicted and fined $7000 for damaging an historic pa site at Whangarei Heads, formerly occupied by the Ngati Wai iwi.
Wayne Cowley pleaded guilty at Whangarei District Court to illegally damaging an archaeological site at the heads by building a road over it.
Ngati Wai Trust Board chairman Laly Haddan says the conviction and fine sends a strong message that damage to sites important to Maori will not be tolerated.
He says many significant historical Maori sites in Northland have been lost forever, and it's good to see the Historic Places Trust taking court action.
Mr Haddan says the example the Whangarei District Court judge has made of a land developer is something the iwi can build on for the future.
He says many of the older Ngati Wai people with knowledge of sites important to the iwi have died, and it is now up to the younger members of the tribe to protect them.