500 signatures reached
To: Mayor Sandra Hazelhurst, Rt Hon Winston Peters, Hon Dr Megan Wood, Hon Andrew Little, Hon Jacinda Ardern
Save Tītīokura/Te Waka ranges from Commercial Desecration
We the signatories of this petition strongly oppose the Hastings District Council consenting to Meridian Energy’s proposal to construct a 41 wind turbine farm on the Tītīokura/Te Waka mountain range situated on the Napier Taupō Road. Various claimant groups including mana whenua (authority group/s of the land), have already successfully defended this matter TWICE in court, there should be no grounds for the Council to approve this consent now. The commercial venture you want to impose on our landscape is not welcomed by us.
Why is this important?
Tītīokura/Te Waka mountain range is a significant landscape for people of the wider Hawkes' Bay community and it also holds significant cultural and spiritual values for Māori. In 2007, claimant groups challenged the Council’s decision to grant Unison Networks Limited a resource consent to construct a wind farm on Tītīokura/Te Waka ranges. The Environment Court ruled that the mountain range is a significant landscape feature and the proposed wind turbine farm significantly adversely effects both the landscape and the cultural and spiritual values of mana whenua. On those grounds, the resource consent was overturned. In 2009, Unison challenged this decision, however, the High Court upheld the original findings of the Environment Court. Unison sold these consents to Meridian Energy in 2010 and in 2019 the Hastings District Council approved Meridian Energy’s proposal to build a wind farm on the Tītīokura/Te Waka ranges.
Ngāti Hineuru are mana whenua on the eastern side of the maunga (mountain) and Ngāti Tu are mana whenua on the western side. The spiritual significance this maunga has for mana whenua has been judicially recognised and formed part of the judgement that stopped Unison from succeeding. Underpinning this judgement were the major contributions given by witness statements which explained that the maunga is rich in lore, history and spiritual significance for mana whenua and that the presence of turbines and other infrastructure would desecrate a place that is sacred to them. Tītīokura is wāhi tapu (sacred place) and an integral part of mana whenua identity. This is cited in Ngāti Hineuru pepehā (tribal saying) and waiata (song). The spiritual and cultural values linking mana whenua to the maunga are as strong and meaningful as they always have been. Meridian Energy is a State-Owned Enterprise, it is not lost on Ngāti Hineuru that the Crown has historically prejudiced their cultural values and it must be emphasised that this current wind farm proposal cuts at the heart of spiritual and cultural significance for Ngāti Hineuru. Ngāti Hineuru have settled with the Crown for breaches under the Treaty of Waitangi and as a result of the settlement the Crown issued protocols to promote good working relationships on matters of cultural importance to Ngāti Hineuru.
It is time that you stop terrorising claimant groups who have opposed this and continue to oppose this but are forced to revisit this dispute. Stop assaulting mana whenua groups by persisting on putting your commercial activities above their cultural and spiritual values.
We do not oppose wind farms, we do not oppose commercial activities. We oppose Meridian Energy’s wind farm proposal because a wind farm on the Tītīokura/Te Waka ranges has already been successfully rejected from claimant groups for the reasons given by the New Zealand Judiciary that a wind farm on this maunga significantly and adversely effects both the landscape and the cultural and spiritual values of mana whenua. These aspects remain the same. Build your wind farm somewhere else.