Controversial Te Mata Peak walking track to be removed

  • 23/12/2017
The winery will restore the land and return it to the previous owner.
The winery will restore the land and return it to the previous owner. Photo credit: file

A controversial walking track built by a Hawke's Bay winery is to be removed.

The 2.4km $300,000 track cut in a zig-zag on the eastern slopes of Te Mata Peak by Craggy Range Winery prompted outrage for scarring a special landscape.

Ngahiwi Tomoana, the leader of Ngāti Kahungunu, said on Monday the local iwi felt betrayed.

Recreational users were supportive and said the landscape would "heal".

On Saturday the winery said following discussions with mana whenua and other concerned groups last week, it had decided to remove the track. Mana whenua refers to a customary authority exercised by an iwi in an identified area.

The winery will restore the land and return it to the previous owner.

"We've worked hard over the last week to seek and understand everyone's perspective. We never intended to alienate or divide any part of our community by developing the public track and we believe it is in the best interests of the broader community that a swift resolution occurs," says chief executive Mike Wilding.

Mr Wilding said the issue had come about because Hastings District Council chose not to publicly notify Craggy Range's consent application to develop the track.

"When this furore erupted we were surprised to find out that council hadn't consulted with mana whenua in the consent application process."

He said there would be no winners if the matter went to court and it would not be fair on ratepayers to foot the bill.

The winery had purchased the private land opposite the Giants Winery on Waimarama Rd earlier this year, for the sole purpose of building the path.

NZN