Thursday, April 19, 2007

Maori landscape saved from industrial wind development

Press Release from The Maori Party (New Zealand), via National Wind Watch (also see related news story):

The Maori Party has today welcomed the findings of the Environment Court in ruling against the erection of 37 turbines along Te Waka Range skyline on the Napier-Taupo Road.

“The site of the Te Waka –Titiohanga-Maungaharuru range is a distinctive feature of the Hawkes Bay” said Maori Party Co-leader, Dr Pita Sharples. “It creates an unique skyline which has great value as a landform, as a recreation resource, and a milestone landmark”.

“I am sure that the Prime Minister, as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage would appreciate how landscapes of such exquisite beauty, feed the soul and nourish the spirit” said Dr Sharples.

“Importantly, it is also of great significance to the peoples of Ngati Tukuru of Ngati Kahungunu” said Dr Sharples. “The Maungahururu Ridge recalls the journey of the Takitimu Canoe, is a navigation aid, and a traditional source of kereru (wood pigeon).

“The naming of ‘Te Waka’ reflects its appearance as the shape of the waka on the skyline” added Dr Sharples. “There are values and stories associated with this landscape which our people hold great meaning by”.

“The land is also of special value to the Hineuru people of Tuwharetoa, the descendants of whom still occupy this land” said Dr Sharples.

“We are pleased that the relationship Ngati Kahungunu and Tuwharetoa have with their ancestral lands, waahi tapu and other taonga has been acknowledged in this decision”

The Maori Party is also pleased that the Environment Court has recognised the national importance of protecting outstanding natural features and landscapes (as required by Section 6 of the Resource Management Act 1991).

“Judge Thompson has carefully considered the adverse effects of the visual pollution that would dominate the Te Waka landscape and balanced this, and the important ancestral beliefs of mana whenua, alongside the benefits of establishing alternative energy sources” said Dr Sharples.

“These landscapes are of importance to all New Zealanders” said Dr Sharples.

“While we must all do what we can to look at renewable energy resources, the Environment Court has, on balance, respected the views of Ngati Kahungunu and Tuwharetoa, the advice of landscape specialists, and the local Hawkes Bay community in reaching their decision”.

Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader, Maori Party

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, human rights