Quarry owners dispute location of Pā site

By Mānia Clarke
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

The family who owns a former quarry in Waikato dispute the claim, their quarry sits on the site of a historic pā.   Dr Don Stewart is preparing a submission to Heritage New Zealand to strengthen their application for resource consent to re-open their Pukeatua quarry.

Despite claims by local iwi that the Pukeatua quarry is the site of traditional pā, Hangahanga, the Stewart and Smith family are resolute in getting approval to mine their Pukeatua quarry,

Co-applicant Dr Stewart says, “Our claim is that it's not the Pā site, the whole emphasis of our argument is that it isn't the Hangahanga Pā site, that it's located at a well known alternative place 7 km away.”

Dr Stewart and two other landowners have applied to the Waikato Regional Council for resource consent, to re-open the quarry to mine for blue metal rock, to be used for road gravel.

“The only place to mine now is into what they (local tribes) claim is the Hangahanga Pā, to take that whole hill away, over many years.  So yes, the area is to totally destroy eventually, what they claim is the Pā site," says Dr Stewart.

In November last year, the landowners presented a Cultural Impact Report at a hearing, and now, a new report is being prepared by an archeologist to support their claim.

Dr Stewart says “We'd have to accept that it could never be a mine again if Hangahanga Pā is proven to be on that site, and would have to be destroyed if further mining went on, so of course we wouldn't be able mine it.”

Tomorrow a presentation on the matter will be put forward to Heritage New Zealand.