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Home arrow Other Coastlines arrow Mahia arrow Maori protest tapu road at Mahia
Maori protest tapu road at Mahia PDF Print
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Other Coastlines - Mahia
Written by The Dominion Post / TVNZ   
Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Up to 20 metres of road linking two Hawke's Bay towns may be fenced off by local Maori who claim the land as sacred burial ground. Members of hapu, or sub-tribes, from the Mahia Peninsula in northern Hawke's Bay want to permanently enforce the closure on a section of road symbolically sealed off yesterday when two large pine trees were cut down between Opoutama and Mahia. More than 50 locals declared the section of Ormond Rd to be part of the nearby Ruawharowharo cemetery and therefore private property. Protest organiser Alice Wairau, of Rakato marae, said locals believed the closed section had never officially been part of the road. Mr Wairau said the existing urupa, or burial site, extended not only under the road but into the Blue Bay subdivision. "The most sacred part of our whenua is the cemetery," she said. "Three of our ancestors are buried here under this road, and we cannot continue to let people drive over them," she said. Wairoa Mayor Les Probert said though the road ran across Maori reserve land designated in the 1950s, it was sealed and maintained by the council. "There's been public access for a long number of years and a legal precedent to say we can keep it open," he told One News before a meeting with protesters last night which led to the trees being cleared.

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