13 Feb 2014

Iwi threatens to pull out of project

6:33 am on 13 February 2014

The Porirua tribe of Ngati Toa is threatening to pull out of a trans-Tasman project to construct Maori totem poles in a New South Wales park, if the concerns of the local aboriginal community aren't addressed.

Two four-metre-high carved pou have been authorised by the Blacktown City Council to celebrate the 30 year Sister City relationship with Porirua.

But a Darug aboriginal elder, Sandra Lee, is upset that neither the Blacktown City Council nor the Maori community have consulted her people about it.

Taku Parai of Ngati Toa says he made it clear to the Blacktown City Council at the beginning of the project that his iwi wouldn't go ahead without the blessing of the tangata whenua.

He says it's not a good situation, and they will pull out of the project if the matter isn't tidied up.

Mr Parai says Ngati Toa has left the matter in the hands of the Blacktown City Council because it told him they had a cultural advisor on board from the local aboriginal community who's helping them through the process.

Blacktown City Council says the two carved poles will placed within the New Zealand South Pacific Garden in the Nurragingy Reserve in May.