"A heritage protection group and local iwi want greater protection of volcanic cones after Auckland City Council works seriously damaged archaeological sites.
Ngati Whatua o Orakei leader Ngarimu Blair said fenceline construction and excavations on Mt Wellington had caused "horrific" damage to its historic features.
"It was two weeks between the work happening and us finding out. Workers or treasure-hunters could have taken other pieces in that time."
Archaeological scarps, terraces, house sites and kumara pits had been dug up and modified."There is a massive disconnect when tangata whenua are not consulted or even informed about work that directly affects them and their taonga. The council are embarrased -
"The council was working with iwi to repair the land.
The chairman of the council's arts, culture and recreation committee, Greg Moyle said the council had accepted full liability for the damage.
Mr Moyle said he was deeply disturbed by the damaged sites."Greg we need to stop it happening rather than fixing it after it happens. This is why maori must be included in all councils and boards relating to local bodies as of right!
"They (the contractors) needed to understand that what is acceptable in a farm paddock is not acceptable on a volcanic cone."Start seeing this area as a bit more than a volcanic cone and you will be getting close greg. Check with your local marae or perhaps the Waitangi Tribunal for some deeper understanding.
And maybe that is actually the starting place. If a person is elected unto a council then they should have access to the history of the area. The maori history. This would help them understand the tensions around their role and the decisions they will make. It is not good enough to have some elected officials with zero or less knowledge and understanding of the indigenous people of this land.