Dispute over access to Parimahu

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Today the hapū of Ngāti Kere in Porangahau Central Hawke's Bay, has taken action to regain access to their customary food source. Access that has been cut off by one Porangahau farmer who has tried to keep them locked out for the last 20 years.

A concrete blockade put here by farmer Frank Gordon stopping Ngāti Kere from going through his farm to Parimahu (Blackhead Point).

According to local resident Don Huata “ Ngāti Kere's stance today is to achieve what we always want and that is to gain access to Parimahu, an ancient site of our ancestors, and also reinforce the efforts and grief of those passed on.

“Those cliffs over there, that's Parimahu, that is the bay where we have collected seafood for generations, a place that sustained us as a people” says Doc Ferria, who also affiliates to Ngāti Pōporo and Ngāti Porou.

After many years of trying to find a resolution but to no avail, the hapū began building the original paper road through his farm, a road that takes them directly to Parimahu.

Rongomaraeroa’s chairman, Ahuririr Houkamau outlines the landmarks,“We're on the paper road now it's 20m wide and if we head that way about 4km you're going to end up on the main road to Porangahau and if we look back this way about another kilometre that way is where we hit te Parimahu.”

“We've had several attempts to broker an arrangement whereby the farmer will give us access through a road. In exchange the council would give him the paper road” says Jim Hitcheson, chairman for the Parimahu Access Group.

However, it's a difficult task ahead with the hapū building a pontoon as a temporary way to cross the Waikaraka Stream before a permanent bridge is signed off by council.

Mr Houkamau told Te Kāea, all the materials will be donated by hapū members from around the country. There is a bill for the council to build it at $300,000 but they don't need it.

Today marks a historic day for Ngāti Kere as they take back the customary food rights as mana whenua that their ancestors had accessed for hundreds of years.

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