Northland marae claims fowl play in Tegal case

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

A Northland marae claims a public meeting by Tegel for its proposal to build the country's biggest chicken farm has been called without their knowledge.

Tegel has invited members of the public to provide information about their proposal, which Kāpehu Marae says will have a serious impact on their operations.

But the chair of the marae is questioning why the meeting isn't being held in Northland where the farm will be located.

Kapehu Marae Chair Makere Mutu says, “We're absolutely livid!  My goodness, what is this?  I am the chairperson. I rang our marae elders asking have they heard about this. 'No' was their reply."

But in a statement to Te Kāea, Tegal said:

"We plan to hold at least one hui in the rohe for local mana whenua to attend.

"...and to give attendees the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposal."

However, Mutu says Tegel is hatching a plan a long way from home to get mana whenua who live in Auckland to jump on board their project.  

“This is deceptive, trickery, an absolute violation.  Pākehā law regarding resource consents states they must consult.  This involves placing an advertisement inviting people to a meeting.  If there is no one or only a few people go, it is valid, but it's about ticking the boxes.”

Tegel is seeking resource consent to raise around nine million chickens a year on land that is currently being used for dairy farming.

The marae and urupā are situated nearby.

“The area is right beside the cemetery, so we cannot consent and we've told them to go somewhere else, don't build it there.”

Tegel says they've had ongoing discussions and engagement between with local mana whenua over several months, including a hui at Kapehu Marae in May. 

“They asked us to write a Cultural Impact Assessment.  We agreed to do that, but when we explained the impacts of the report, Tegal didn't like it,” says Mutu.

Tegel says they are approaching tonight's hui with good faith, and a genuine desire to engage and listen.

At around 5:30pm tonight members of the marae and Dargaville community are expected to stage a protest outside the meeting venue in Parnell.

The meeting will begin at 6pm.