Trustees need to 'pull their heads out of the sand'

By Regan Paranihi

Save Tumu Kaituna, a group with whakapapa ties to the Tumu Kaitunu 14 block is shocked that their governing trust wants a sand mine on their land to stay in operation.

Te Ao News received confirmation from Tauranga City Council that in February this year, the trust board made a resource consent application to authorise mining within a Future Urban Zone and earthworks within a Te Tumu Archaeological Area.

Speaking for the owners who oppose these new measures Renee Kiriona (Te Arawa) stated, “Mining, for many of us, it’s not really a Māori Thing”.

This is after the Māori Land Court denied the Trusts’ application to convert more than 55 hectares of their total 240 coastal whenua to general title in October last year.

Concerns over proposed urban development on historical Māori land has sparked a flame and Kiriona says this initiative has gone on for far too long.

"Our land has been hurt by the sand mining too much has been taken and that needs to stop," she adds, "The sand mining is occurring on our whenua because our trustees have allowed it to and unfortunately this isn't new".

Tumu Kiatumu 14 Trust Chairman, Malcolm Short says its an initiative that will benefit the land and the landowners.

"That's the trustee's job to engage contractors for the benefit of developing the land".

Kiriona says they are obstructing a plan driven by the Tumu Kaituna Trust, Tauranga City Council and non-Māori landowners in the area which could result in them being stripped of their ancestral land.

"Our key message is for Tauranga City Council not to renew the consent to allow sand mining to occur on the whenua for the next 12 years".

Chairman Malcolm Short says the resource consents for mining and earthworks are needed to keep the trust operating. 

"We've been operating here for 20 years and that's really the lifeblood of the trust to keep operating and keep its head above water and to pay rates," says Short.

Kiriona hopes their peaceful protest will send a message to the trustee's to stop their arrangement.

"We're hoping that the trustees will pull their heads out of the sand and stop the mining like what we owners have asked them too".

"We need to get on with the job I hope one day that people will see reason and the shareholders of Tumu Kaituna 14 will support the trustees," adds Short.