"Clearwater Hydro company blew up the sacred kohatu Te Rongomai o Te Karaka with reckless disregard for mana whenua who held it in high regard.
The company dynamited the two-storey high kohatu at 5.30am in front of whanau from Marokopa Marae in Te Anga, Waitomo who had been occupying the site in an effort to protect it.
“This was a cold-hearted decision. The company may think that they have rid themselves of any issues by lighting the fuse and destroying the kohatu but I think they have only made things worse for themselves,” Maori Party MP for Te Tai Hauauru Tariana Turia said.
“Only yesterday was I calling for cool-heads and more dialogue between all the parties then several hours later, they blew it up. I am extremely pouri for the people of Marokopa and Maniapoto,” she said.
Despite what appeared to be inadequate consultation on Clearwater and Environment Waikato’s behalf, the people of Marokopa Marae did everything they could to protect the kohatu, Mrs Turia said.
Those efforts included appealing the decision of the Environment Court, appealing the resource consent from the regional council and meeting with Clearwater, which indicated to them that it would divert the earthworks and penstock around the site of cultural significance.
Mrs Turia has approached the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, the Minister of Maori Affairs and the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage to investigate these issues further, particularly around where accountability sits in the destruction of an important archaeological site.This is direct evidence of how maori are treated in this country - what an absolute shocker. It is getting close to the time when some people are going to have to make some big decisions about what they stand for and who they stand with.
Footnote - Maps has written an excellent post on this and other thought-provoking subjects.