Kāpiti Coast District Council schedules Kārewarewa Urupā as Waahi Tapu site

Following the release of the Waitangi Tribunal’s Kārewarewa Urupā Report in 2020, Kāpiti Coast District Council (KCDC) proposed through their District Plan Change process to schedule Kārewarewa urupā in Waikanae as a waahi tapu.

The Waikanae Land Company, who came into ownership of the land of the urupā in the 1960s, recently filed with the Environment Court in pursuit of resource consents and authority to develop part of the remaining urupā land into housing.

The proposed scheduling of Kārewarewa as an urupā would provide a layer of protection making it more difficult for the Waikanae Land Company to gain resource consent, and so they appealed the proposed Plan Change by KCDC.

In early April this year an Independent Hearing Panel heard Kāpiti Coast District Council’s proposal to schedule Kārewarewa urupā as a waahi tapu. Dozens of our iwi members and wider Ngāti Toarangatira and Ngāti Raukawa whanaunga attended the hearing in support of our Trust submissions of evidence, and to hear the arguments put by the Waikanae Land Company. The hearing was challenging and emotive, but a strong case was put by Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai.

Last week, KCDC received the report and recommendations of the Independent Hearing Panel, who found in favour of their proposal to schedule Kārewarewa as waahi tapu, and supported the position of Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai that the site is an urupā and waahi tapu:

“We also conclude that the Waikanae Land Company had credible evidence before it sought to uplift the (cemetery) designation that the land was culturally significant to Te Ātiawa as a burial ground and for other cultural reasons.”

The recommendation to schedule the site was adopted at Council’s meeting last week, reinstating waahi tapu protections to our urupā for the first time in 53 years. This is a significant achievement for our iwi, and a credit to the legacy of many tūpuna over generations, advocating for the protection of Kārewarewa urupā.

However, the cases in the Environment Court, and now the High Court, are ongoing, with the Waikanae Land Company seeking to review the jurisdiction of the Panel to make those recommendations, as they prepare for their consent hearings next year.

We will continue to prepare for these future hearings, and to explore options in pursuit of the ultimate goal of having the urupā protected from development in perpetuity.

“Te toa o te tangata kei runga, ko Kārewarewa.”

Dr. Mahina-a-rangi Baker

WAI 1945 Advisor

Waea Tari:  (04) 293 1538

Wāhi noho:  10 Parata Street/PO Box 509, Waikanae 5250

Pukamata: https://www.facebook.com/TeAtiawaKiKapiti

Whārangi Ipurangi:  https://teatiawakikapiti.co.nz/