Mayor apologises to iwi over slip-up

South Taranaki's Mayor Ross Dunlop
South Taranaki's Mayor Ross Dunlop

South Taranaki's Mayor Ross Dunlop has apologised to iwi representatives for not offering proper consultation on the sale of Kohi land.

At yesterday's iwi liaison meeting, Ngati Ruanui's Ngapari Nui criticised the South Taranaki District Council for the lack of notice about Kohi's community pool and hall being declared surplus land and offered to the residents who already looked after it.

Going back to the 1980s, STDC had agreed to iwi consultation on surplus land matters but this meeting was the first time he had seen any documentation on Kohi.

"You bypass the process that allows iwi to be part of it," Mr Nui said.

"It's not just notifying, we want the same information as everyone else."

Mr Dunlop said STDC would "take that on the chin" they had "got this around the wrong way".

"Kohi pool was a slip-up."

However Mr Dunlop pointed out STDC was trying to abide by a property protocol agreement with the four iwi authorities which they have still not officially signed.

The agreement was first drawn up in 2002.

"We're waiting, since 2008," said Mr Dunlop.

Kohi's pool was just a small piece of land down a gully, he said.

"There's much better things that iwi could own other than the Kohi pool."

The land, about 10km from Waverley, is in Te Kahui o Rauru's area and their representative, Darryn Ratana, said it was a good thing it was just a small pool rather than something iwi would be upset about.

Mr Nui said he also had no problem with Kohi's community getting the pool.

But iwi needed to be consulted properly so they would not be seen by the Pakeha community as a "stumbling block", he said.

"We don't want to be negative, that's why we have to be involved in the process," Mr Nui said.

Taranaki Daily News