19 Apr 2013

Chathams trees in cultural desecration claim

10:17 am on 19 April 2013

The Department of Conservation is investigating a report of cultural violation of sacred Moriori trees on the Chatham Islands.

The ancient carved Kopi trees in the JM Barker Hapupu National Historic Reserve are protected under DoC legislation.

Department staff on the Chathams say the alleged offence was reported by the Hokotehi Moriori Trust, who have also laid a complaint with the police.

The trust alleges a group of local people acted disrespectfully in the historic reserve by drinking alcohol, taking drugs and making lewd gestures towards the carved Moriori trees.

Chatham Islanders and DoC are working hard to preserve the few remaining trees with ancestral Moriori carvings before they start deteriorating any further.

DoC says there was no physical damage made to any of the trees.