Heritage Protection Order considered for historic South Auckland site

  • Tau Henare
Maori Affairs

The Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon Tau Henare, is seriously considering a Heritage Protection Order for the historic Matukutureia archaeological sites on the Matukurua Stonefields in South Auckland.

Watercare Services Ltd has begun work on the South Western Interceptor sewer pipeline. To expedite construction of the final 5 km of the pipeline WSL planned to route the pipeline across part of the stonefields.

Matukutureia is of significant value both historically and culturally to local Maori, Ngati Te Ata and Waiohua. Its value to the international community has also been recognised in numerous reports, including one to the Government by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Mr Henare said the PCE's report highlighted a problem nation-wide that current legislation, the Resource Management Act and the Historic Places Act, did not do enough to ensure the protection of historically valuable sites in New Zealand.

"And if we don't act now before long they'll all disappear," he said.

"This case highlights the problems with the legislation and is a classic example of something that has fallen through the gap."

Under section 187 of the Resource Management Act any Minister of the Crown can apply for a Heritage Protection Order which can be used to protect any place of special significance for spiritual, cultural or historical reasons.

"But while the process for a national strategy is being developed and would provide guidance for the resolution of issues associated with the Matukutureia, it is still some distance off.

"In the meantime Watercare Service's plans would amount to irreparable damage to one of this country's natural taonga," said Mr Henare.