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Ed Sheeran

Social media bus driving cellphone tower protest

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Te Taitokerau MP Kelvin Davis says a dispute about a cellphone tower at Utakura seems to be part of a growing trend of protests on private land.

Some hapū members are blocking contractors from installing a cellphone tower on Whakarongorua, one of the sacred mountains of Ngāpuhi

Mr Davis, who is also Māori Crown Relations Minister, says the hapū is divided, with some members supporting the project to improve cellphone coverage in the remote area.

He says it seems similar to the situation at Ihumātao, where it's not something the Crown should get involved in.

"If they keep saying 'the crown must buy land, the crown must buy private land,' well that just opens up a whole new set of circumstances. Whakarongorua, we recite it as part of the Whare Tāpere of Ngāpuhi. It is probably one of those tricky situations that are probably going to happen more and more often, particularly when people use social media to garner support and they become flashpoints," Mr Davis says.

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