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Work on Tane Mahuta Toilets to Continue

The Department of Conservation will continue to truck away waste from the
toilets at Tane Mahuta and will have completed its plans to have the system
totally sealed by the end of next month.

Kerikeri/Waipoua Area manager John Beachman said waste from the toilet
block, built in the 1970s, has been trucked away at regular intervals since
the summer of 97/98 and a decision had already been made that sealing up the
units would be necessary to stop the chance of any leakage occurring.

Mr Beachman said the soakage fields for the well-patronised toilets had long
been regarded as inadequate and that DOC had been trying for years to come
up with an agreeable solution with local iwi Te Roroa to alleviate problems
associated with the facility.

"We have made significant efforts over a number of years to engage with our
treaty partner over this and other management issues and have very recently
been told by a representative of Te Roroa that are not interested in talking
with DOC," Mr Beachman said.

"We have long recogised that the problem of the toilets at Waipoua needs to
be resolved and have explored a number of options but none were suitable for
the environmental conditions," he said.

These comments follow a media statement issued by Te Roroa's Gary Hooker on
Monday that claim the department has failed to resolve the Waipoua toilet
issue, and supported the actions of a group that vandalised the bridge
leading to Tane Mahuta last week.

"I am quite frankly intrigued by Te Roroa's support for the illegal actions
of Nga Turehu O Te Motu as we have made honest attempts to engage with the
tangata whenua over the issue of the toilets," Mr Beachman said.

"We have on several occasions requested meetings with Te Roroa with no
success," he added.

The bridge was repaired last Friday at a cost of $6000 and Mr Beachman said
the police were continuing their investigation into the incident.

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