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Turbine 'desecration' under fire

Maori have attacked plans for more wind turbines in the Tararua Ranges, saying turbines are weakening the mauri (life force) and mana of the hill tops.

He Kupenga Hao i te Reo (Inc) secretary Ian Christensen objected to the proposed Motorimu Wind Farm at the resource consent hearing in Palmerston North yesterday. It proposes 127 turbines for the hills behind Tokomaru and Linton.

He told the three commissioners that the Tararua ridge line had enough turbines and “further desecration of the ridgeline” with more would weaken mauri to a point where the “wellbeing of people would be in jeopardy”.

“Manawatu has been desecrated by the pollution of human beings. We urge that the whole of the mountain range not be desecrated as well,” he said.

“The Tararua Range is a significant treasure and is celebrated in the prestigious statement of identity ‘Tararua is the mountain, Manawatu is the river’.”

Expert witness Massey University Maori Studies professor Taiarahia Black explained the significance of mauri as it applies to a mountain range – in this case Tararua.

“For the mauri is alive in these range of mountains which derives itself from the powerful expression, intellectual constitution and vigour of the ancestors and their open awareness to the environment.”

Professor Black said Maori identity is secured by land. “To Maori, land is necessary for spiritual growth and economic survival. It contributes to sustenance, wealth, intellectual resource development, and promotes the nature, significance, social context and scholarship of oral traditions.”

* He Kupenga Hao i te Reo (Inc) has been in Manawatu for 16 years and supports the revitalisation, maintenance and use of the Maori language. Mr Christensen spoke to the hearing in Maori and his words were translated into English. Prof Black used Maori and English.

Mr Christensen said they had talked with Rangitane as tangata whenua at Rangiotu. Those Rangitane agreed with their contention that the Tararua mountain range is sacred, and that it is demeaning to their mana to erect further wind turbines on the ridge line.

“This is also consistent with statements made in the cultural impact assessment conducted by Tanenuiarangi Manawatu (for the hearing). It falls to us to support them as tangata whenua in this region, and add a further Maori viewpoint to the discussion.”

* Mr Christensen said He Kupenga Hao i te Reo (Inc) owns land on Millricks Line, which it will build on in the future, to create a home for Maori language. If Motorimu goes ahead there will be 24 turbines within 1.5km of the property, the closest at 700 metres.

By Helen Harvey
Manawatu Standard


16 March 2007