Maori Land Court Inquiry Re Lake Horowhenua

Veronica Harrod reports the Lake Horowhenua Trust has been given seven days to provide answers to the Maori Land Court about the purpose and legality of extensive earth works being carried out at Lake Horowhenua. (Photos — supplied)

In an affidavit to the court, Lake Horowhenua kaitiaki Philip Taueki stated he was seeking an injunction to prevent earthworks and activities at Lake Horowhenua, including the excavation of ponds and laying of tracks and walkways, “without consultation with owners or required resource consents.”

Philip Taueki, guardian of Lake Horowhenua

Mr Taueki is legally recognised as a Maori owner of Lake Horowhenua.

He is the great, great grandson of Taueki, the renowned Paramount chief of Mua-Upoko, who signed the Treaty of Waitangi at Hokio on 26 May 1840. According to an e-book on the Taueki whakapapa by Anne Hunt the Taueki hapu, “settled in the Horowhenua as early as the 13th Century.”

Mr Taueki’s sister Vivienne Taueki stated in a supporting affidavit that a June 2016 archaeological assessment completed for the council identifies Lake Horowhenua and other sites, “as places where the Taueki whanau occupied hundreds of years ago, giving us long-standing connections to the area.”

The archaeological assessment states, “Research for this assessment and discussion with other archaeologists failed to identify any sites of direct comparison—the closest analogues being moa or sea mammal hunting sites—which indicate a potential for the site to have values and a significance relevant at a national level.”

Horowhenua District Council said the Lake Horowhenua Trust authorised the work but refused to comment on whether the earth-works have a resource consent stating instead, “The Lake Horowhenua Trust would presumably know the answer to this.”

When Lake Trust chair Matt Sword was approached for comment he said, “It has come to my attention that your material is being used by individuals who are mounting legal proceedings against the Lake Trust. We also have reason to believe you are working with them.”

The material he referred to was the responses by council to questions about the earthworks which was also been provided to the Trust.

In an interim judgement made last Friday, Judge L Harvey has requested Lake Horowhenua Trust provide a copy of, “(a) any correspondence with Heritage New Zealand, Pouhere Taonga that relates to the works undertaken (b) Any minutes of trustees’ and beneficiaries meetings where the current works were discussed (c) Minutes of the last two annual general meetings of beneficiaries (d) Any correspondence with relevant authorities including consenting bodies.

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