A Labour MP has accused Kapiti Expressway workers of being “extremely offensive” to Maori by eating their lunch at a wahi tapu site as historical human remains lay nearby.
Darien Fenton said at a transport and industrial relations select committee meeting yesterday that the workers were spotted eating their lunch at the wahi tapu site at El Rancho, Waikanae, which includes the Takamore urupa, and a macrocarpa known as the Maketu tree.
You’re not allowed to have a sandwich under a tree now?
Ms Fenton told the committee she had spoken to two women from Te Ati Awa. “[They] understood the site was tapu until the archaeologists had finished their work, yet we found workers having lunch onsite which was extremely offensive to local Maori.”
Speaking later, she said that seeing workers eating on the sacred site, with recently discovered human remains from the burial site nearby, had shocked her.
We had better ban food from all areas in NZ where someone is buried. The Savage Memorial for a start.
“The simplest way to put it is . . . [people] should treat it like you’d treat a church, the sacredness of the church. The land is sacred in the same way to us.”
You can’t eat in church now? What about all that bread and wine?
NZTA Wellington Highways manager Rod James said the particular area at El Rancho fell under the jurisdiction of the Takamore Trust.
The site was not identified by the “mandated iwi” as tapu, they had written authorisation to start work at that particular site, and two iwi earthworks monitors were present, he said.
“Workers were assembling to be briefed by iwi and the archaeologist. We are not aware of any concerns about conduct from the mandated iwi.”
Good to see Labour focusing on the big issues of the day!Tags: Labour