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Ed Sheeran

Waahi tapu list whittled down

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Tamaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare says yesterday’s Auckland Council decision to drop several hundred sites off a register of sites of significance to mana whenua iwi and hapu is a step backwards.

Officials suggested the proposed unitary plan drop almost 1400 of the 3600 sites where a cultural assessment was needed before development.

The Development Committee yesterday passed a recommendation to remove the sites and places of value overlay on private land until all sites and places have been accurately identified and mapped.

That includes 552 sites that did not have a confirmed location and 73 sites which were non­-Maori or duplicates, as well as 10 sites where there was uncertainty whether the object of value was a natural or archaeological feature.

Mr Henare says the council should avoid a monocultural approach to history.

"They’re basing a lot of their evidence on what the New Zealand Archaeological Society say meaning they will only look at cases where there is clear evidence of our people having been there or lived there. Well that’s an absolute crock. It’s not just about the land and we’ve always talked about this. It’s about the significance of the place to our people," he says.

Peeni Henare says Maori values shouldn’t be set aside in the rush to meet targets for house construction.

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