Council 'obligated' to clean up reserve

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 20/03/2014

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The responsibility for cleaning a dump site at Hawera's Turuturu Mokai reserve should lie with the council, according to one South Taranaki iwi representative.

Ngapari Nui, who represents Ngati Ruanui on the South Taranaki District Council's iwi liaison committee, raised the issue of the future of the reserve at yesterday's meeting.

He said the council was obligated to be involved in the clean-up.

"At the end of the day, you were the kaitiaki [guardian] of that land for all those years," he said.

Mr Nui said it was unfair to expect Ngati Tupaia, who currently control the reserve, to foot the bill.

Mayor Ross Dunlop, who chaired the iwi liaison meeting, said the council was committed to helping out with the clean up and the maintenance of the reserve into the future.

He said a memorandum of understanding needed to be developed between council and Ngati Tupaia around the project.

Mr Dunlop said the council was also open to discussion around how to use the bequest money left to the council by Samuel Larcom, which now totals more than $80,000.

On Tuesday, the Taranaki Daily News published details of a report which found high levels of lead, zinc, arsenic and copper at the site following testing conducted by the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC).

Nga Ruahine Iwi Authority iwi liaison representative Omahuru Robinson said the TRC might also need to be part of any decisions made about the future of the historic area.

It was important to "ensure these things don't happen again", Mr Robinson said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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