Construction blocked over controversial Erebus monument

By Taroi Black

Despite level 3 restrictions iwi may protest the proposed Erebus memorial for Auckland.

Rāhui signs at the proposed location have allegedly been replaced with a notice that work will go ahead for the memorial commemorating the Mount Erebus disaster in Antarctica more than 40 years ago.

But a ministry spokeswoman says construction signs were repurposed by protestors to display rāhui notices.

Dame Rangimarie Naida Glavish says she’s absolutely disappointed the rāhui has been ignored.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei and other iwi are determined to preserve the culture significance of the area which includes the historical pā sites of Mataharehare and Taurarua, as well as a pōhutukawa tree that’ss believed to pre-date the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.   

“The question has been posed to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. Do you really want another Bastion Point in the middle of a level 3 pandemic in Tāmaki Makaurau? At what stage will the Crown honour lore?” asked Dame Rangimarie.

The ministry disputes rāhui signs were removed and that seven constructions signs placed in February were ‘re-purposed’ by protestors for rāhui signage.

“Last week, two of our signs nearest the memorial site had updated notices attached to them, signalling our intention to re-start work, as required by our resource consent. One of these has since been replaced with a new rāhui sign,” says Tamsin Evans, Deputy Chief Executive Delivery, Manatū Taonga.

The other five signs which have rāhui notices attached to them remained in place.

The CEO of the construction firm Naylor Love, Rick Herd, says the project is now on hold as negotiations are now underway between the ministry and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.

The Office of the Ombudsman has also confirmed it will investigate iwi complaints about the actions of the ministry and Auckland Council.