Native Affairs – A warning to Tongariro tourists

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Local hapū, Ngāti Hikairo spokesman Te Ngaehe Wanikau says the exploitative attitude towards the use of the dual heritage park is about to end. Ngāti Tuwharetoa will sign its Deed of Settlement with the Crown next week. Part of it gives the iwi decision-making powers over the park. Wanikau says the settlement consolidates years of work by generations of the tribe to assert their guardianship of the area. Various sub-tribes of Ngāti Tuwharetoa including Ngāti Hikairo are already working with tourism operators and the Department of Conservation to reduce the tourism footprint in the area. http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/latest-news/native-affairs--warning-tongariro-tourists

Interesting. So what will happen to the circus that is the Tongariro Crossing? I'd have some sympathy if they just said 'enough is enough' and shut the whole damn thing down and fully commercialised it as a low volume, high quality experience. OK so that raises a whole bunch of other questions. But it does highlight the fact that our passion for tramping, getting out into the hills and it's intimate relationship with vast tracts of land ... does and always will have a political dimension most of us would prefer not to have to think about so much.

the iwi would need legal rights that trump the current law that guarantees free access to conservation land. theres talk of turning it into a park and ride operation, apparently theres going to be parking at the skifield and a shuttle will take people to tongariro , no parking on the road , cut back of long term parking around whakapapa village. theres a small piece of land on the crossing that is maori owned land as i understand it, where kitetahi springs are and they've banned public access to that.

Would it need to trump current law? Section 4 of the National Parks Act only guarantees freedom of entry and access for as long as it doesn't compromise the preservation of native plants and animals, or the welfare in general of the park. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1980/0066/latest/whole.html#DLM37796 What current law does *not* allow is charging for entry. (ie. No profiteering, raising money, etc.) If, however, a permit system were implemented to restrict numbers on all or part of the land in the interests of protecting the park's welfare from too many people, then it might be treated as lawful to charge a reasonable administration fee for processing the permit. Declaring 'Specially Protected Areas' within National Parks, and issuing permits to enter them, is covered by clauses 12 and 13 of the NPA. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1980/0066/latest/whole.html#DLM37918

the more sensitive areas prone to erosion from people walking on it have been well developed to stop erosion. So I'm not sure how they would justify restricting access to the walk on those grounds, but the amount of littering and people doing their toilet on the track may be grounds to limit access. I"m not sure any authority there wants to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, a lot of people make a lot of money as a result of people walking through the park.. It's interesting that the local Maori tribes have publicly raised the issue of conservation in the park, and restricting the impact of people on the park. I dont recall the dept of conservation raising those issues. good that they have been able to minimise the no of skiers and the infrastructure of the skifield... but nothing has yet been done to arest the rampant increase of people on the Tongariro crossing.

"fully commercialised it as a low volume, high quality experience" you mean like Mt Tarawera where they put up fences and attacked people?

lets not tar all iwi with the same brush, the locals at tongariro have made nothing but positive comments so far on their desire for conservation of the area... lets see what they come up with before we speculate with too much negativity.. so far their comments have been more noticeable against DOC's lack of expression about restricting unfettered expansion of access to tongariro park.

Tarawera is an interesting comparison. Its never been State owned but always Maori land. Things were fine there with permission readily granted to visit for a quite reasonable koha until a tourist operator came along and told the Iwi that they could make a lot more money if they gave exclusive access to that operator. Now the only way to visit is in a Landrover tour bus at an extortionate price. The tour operator is makeing huge amounts of money but I dont know if a fair share goes back to the owners. Because that was so successful the same idea got put onto the upper Rangatiki area which used to be popular with trampers hunters and fishermen but for a long time was only accessable to helehunters using a certain helecopter company

I find it irritating when land access gets shut down in the sorts of ways like Tarawera. When I try to think about it realistically, though, the occasions where Maori owners have chosen to do this are really just instances of those owners doing what society instructs them to do. If you need money and land is what you have, then it makes sense in our system to do whatever's to be done with the land to generate the money. That's how we roll in this country since the land began being carved up and allocated to specific owners throughout the 1800s, with the clear implication being that land should have specific owners. There's no shortage of private land out there from which the public is completely shut out. Unless that's opened up, to me it seems hypocritical to expect that Maori owners should do anything else with their own land, except where the law requires it. (I appreciate it when I'm allowed in, though.) The more fundamental issue, imho, is that New Zealand law doesn't usually provide people with rights to cross private land in the same way as exists in some other countries. Minor weirdisms with Trespass law aside, owners are pretty much allowed to lock people out unconditionally, irrespective of how much justifiable public interest there might be for the public to be able to cross or access it.

its about the mentality of the people who are in power regardless of their race.... Tarawera could be great mountain biking and tramping and running country, but whoever is in charge of the land doesnt have those activities on their radar otherwise it would have been developed for those activities... the people who have a say in what happens at tongariro are different people and may think differently, they haven talked about being as extreme as on tarawera, theres no reason to believe they will be so far...

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Forum The campfire
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