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Ngāti Rangi hits out at lack of iwi consultation over Ruapehu Alpine Lifts financial issues

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Workers walk past a chair lift and a view of Mt Ngauruhoe. Photo / NZME

Ngāti Rangi Iwi says they have been shown no respect following the collapse of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts who have gone into voluntary administration.

Te Tōtarahoe o Paerangi chair Whetu Moataane said the crisis actions announced in relation to the voluntary administration of RAL was an affront to the dignity and rangatiratanga of Ngāti Rangi.

“Tūroa Ski Area was established in the current location in 1978 under the authority of a licence granted by the Crown to the then operating company. This was done without consultation with Ngāti Rangi,” Moataane said.

“As the stream of reporters drove past our tari at 1 Mountain Rd, we were reminded that even with a Treaty settlement in place, media and ministers alike appear to forget their own law – namely Ahakoa haere te Karauna ki whea, ka haere hoki a Ngāti Rangi – that Where the Crown goes, so goes Ngāti Rangi.

“During the 1995/96 eruption, Ngāti Rangi, as an iwi, went to Koro Ruapehu and had karakia. In the subsequent years Ngāti Rangi has continued to have a presence within the ski field business, including constructing the towers for the chairlifts.

“Since the eruption, Ngāti Rangi has always led the opening and closing karakia for the maunga, including the closing karakia held just yesterday.

“In 2018, in our Deed of Settlement, the Crown acknowledged that it had failed for many years to include Ngāti Rangi in the ongoing management arrangements for the Tongariro National Park and this severely affected the ability of Ngāti Rangi to practise their tino rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga over their sacred maunga, Ruapehu, and their wāhi tapu within the park.”

This, says Moataane, was a breach of the Treaty.

“Rukutia Te Mana established that this was a breach of te Tiriti o Waitangi and its principles.

“Ngāti Rangi has actually had a Relationship Agreement with Ruapehu Alpine Lifts since 2017, a joint approach between Ngāti Rangi and RAL to matters that affect Ruapehu through the establishment of a relationship group called Te Pae Toka.

“We cannot understate, the profound significance to Ngāti Rangi of Matua te Mana, Ruapehu maunga, from which the iwi draw life, sustenance, and inspiration.

“Despite the decades of cultural support; despite the commitment enshrined in law; despite the existence of Te Pae Toka, we are bitterly disappointed that neither Ruapehu Alpine Lifts as an entity, or respective ministers of the Crown, thought to give us a heads-up, or to consult with us about possible solutions to this crisis on Koro.

“We expected better.”

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