7 Oct 2013

Contamination bruises hapu's links with skifield

7:20 am on 7 October 2013

A central North Island hapu says a diesel leak which has contaminated the Makotuku stream has strained the relationship between tangata whenua and the Ruapehu skifield operators.

Up to 15,000 litres of diesel has leaked into the Makotuku stream from a tank at the base of the Turoa ski field, which is run by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.

Ngati Uenuku chair Don Robinson says the discharge flowed into the source of the Makotuku, polluting the water locals use for bathing, washing, and drinking.

He says iwi members were originally extremely angry, but are coming to terms with the contamination as communication with the skifield improves.

Mr Robinson says although the anger has diminished, their poisonous discharge has caused personal costs for locals, and some may feel as though compensation is necessary.

But he says it is too early to begin discussions on compensation at the moment, and he is focussed on mitigating the effects of the contamination.