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Ed Sheeran

Ngai Tai raise stink over dead cows on Motutapu

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Ngai Tai ki Tamaki is demanding Heritage New Zealand prosecute the Department of Conservation and its lessee for damaging an archaeological site on Motutapu Island.

Chair James Brown says the iwi started picking up rumours in December that a number of cows has died and been buried on the Hauraki Gulf island.

He says after repeated queries DOC admitted something might have happened, but insisted it and the farmer had the appropriate consents to deal with it.

It was not until May that Heritage New Zealand finally got involved and confirmed 49 cows had died, probably from eating sycamore fruit, and that the burial had damaged an undocumented midden.

"Under Heritage NZ and under the Heritage Act, we have demanded, not asked, that Heritage prosecute both the department and the farmer involved in this case. Both decided to authorise themselves to do this action, both illegally," Mr Brown says.

The Motutapu lease comes up in September, and Ngai Tai ki Tamaki is keen to take it over as a manifestation of its ancestral connection to the island.


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