Northland community up in arms over roadway

By Dean Nathan

The unauthorised development of a farm track into a fully formed roadway has the community of Takahiwai in Northland up in arms. This week they have begun protesting over the issue.

The community of Takahiwai are up in arms as to how a local farm track has turned into a fully formed metal road.

"If you’re gonna open up a road, they’re gonna open up dangers to the safety of my tamariki," says Jewel Foot (Patu Harakeke).

"When I was young we used to go around, we never violated this territory. But that road is going to go through that, that's like walking over our ancestors' graves really," Katarina Rean (Patu Harakeke) adds.

The words on a local real estate advert promote the sale of Mangawhati lands with direct beach access to both Marsden Point and One Tree Point.

"We’re neighbours, our farms meet and yet one neighbour cannot say to the other neighbour, 'Good morning, I’m going to open up my boundary and change my farm track that will enable the people who buy my farm to travel up the new road onto the public road and quickly to the beach.  But I’m not going to tell the new owner that you actually got to come through a village that's been here a thousand years.' That to me is the height of arrogance, the height of ignorance," says Dr Mere Kepa (Te Parawhau, Patu Harakeke)

Locals were shocked when major earthworks to transform the track into a fully-fledged roadway were completed during the level-4 lockdown. They duly reported the issue to the police and the Covid-19 emergency services, with both Māori and Pākeha landowners at Takahiwai now rising in opposition to the roadway.

"They’ve all ticked to come up and barricade the road so they’re very passionate and they’re standing in unison with us, we’re very uplifted by that.  Our message to the neighbouring farmers, the Frazer brothers, is to just come, kōrero to us," says Kare Rata (Patu Harakeke, Te Parawhau).

The landowners and resident council of Takahiwai Facebook page are seeking support to lobby this matter, with a verbal request received from one of the directors of Mangawhati land to speak with a local whānau.

"My response to him on behalf of my extended family is no.  He does not talk only to our extended family, he talks to all the families who are residing in Takahiwai.  I’m happy to talk to him but he must talk to everyone," Rata says.

"I see our culture of Takahiwai Māori as being under threat and my position is I will fight for our survival," says Tom Paki (Patu Harakeke).

"It's sad that people think that they can just come and trample on us as people on our land, on our whenua," says Foot.