Signatures still needed for Maori wards petitions

Over the holiday period, Hobson’s Pledge has focused on collecting signatures for five petitions on proposals for Maori wards in Western Bay of Plenty, Whakatane, Manawatu, Palmerston North and Kaikoura. With a deadline of February 21, one district has already surpassed its goal with the others having made varying degrees of progress.


The only area with a semblance of organised opposition is Whakatane, where a social media campaign is encouraging people to post images of themselves holding signs saying “Say yes to Maori wards, say no to petition”. See

The organiser of that campaign may not realise that Maori wards have consequences for Maori roll voters, mostly that such voters are locked into limited choice until the next census when it is possible to move to the general roll.

Nationally, only 55 percent of people with Maori ancestry are currently on the Maori roll. If that ratio applies to Whakatane, a Maori ward councillor would not represent all Maori in Whakatane.

Petition forms for the five areas may be downloaded from  We will keep you up to date on both the drive to collect signatures and the subsequent poll campaigns.

Meanwhile, we hope you are enjoying a pleasant summer break and wish you every success for 2018.

The Te Mata Peak track and the iwi complaint

A complaint last month by an iwi leader over a walking track up the eastern slope of Te Mata Peak, near Hastings, rapidly escalated into two social media petitions, with the first opposing the track and the other supporting it.

The Zorro-shaped track was created by Craggy Range winery, which is located over the road on the east side of the peak, on winery-owned land, with all required consents from the Hastings District Council.

Complaints came from “not in my back yard” types who thought it spoilt their view, and from a local iwi leader, Ngahiwi Tomoana, who said the mountain was sacred and special to him because his great-great-grandmother was seized from there by marauding Waikato warriors and taken into slavery.

Havelock North resident Anna Archibald created a petition against the track that had garnered 6500 signatures by today.

Craggy Range, which is owned by an American billionaire Terry Peabody, quickly said they would remove the track and started negotiating with the iwi.

The proposal was first to remove the track. Then the proposal was to remove that track and build another track with iwi involvement – creating a double scar on the east side of the peak.

Then Waimarama resident Bex McNeur started another petition supporting the track, which had nearly 11,000 signatures by today.

When Hawke’s Bay Today columnist Bruce Bisset committed the white-liberal pro-Maori green view to print, Matius Ryan of Wairoa, who identifies as Maori, wrote a letter to the paper pointing out that Mr Tomoana did “not represent Hawke’s Bay Maori on an individual level, and that he is part of legal, and pseudo-legal, Maori organisations, either created to interface with government funding bodies, or to promote Maori aspirations”.

The irony of this whole debacle is that the steep, colder eastern slope of Te Mata Peak where the new walking track has been built is currently deemed sacred while the warmer, flatter western slopes that have had a sealed road, a restaurant, and housing for decades appears to be open for business.

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