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After 25 Years, Long-Awaited Ruling Poised To Bring Reprieve For Sacred Maunga And Ngāti Hako

A decision over two decades in the making is expected to provide welcome relief for the revered Rae ō te Papa maunga and its indigenous guardians, Ngāti Hako. The Environment Court has upheld a determination by the Hauraki District Council and Waikato Regional Council precluding any new landfill development on the hallowed slopes of Te Rae ō te Papa at Tirohia.

Ngāti Hako spokesperson Josie Anderson said "This represents a monumental day and an auspicious ruling. It is abundantly evident from the Court's meticulous 107-page decision that substantial efforts were undertaken to comprehensively evaluate every facet of the application advanced by Waste Management before ultimately dismissing it.”

The judgment solidifies the profound cultural and spiritual magnitude of Te Rae ō te Papa as the ancestral maunga of Ngāti Hako, safeguarding their intrinsic connection with this wāhi tapu and cherished taonga from further degradation.

"It is now time for the maunga to commence healing," Ms. Anderson stated. "Over the past quarter-century, Ngāti Hako has consistently articulated an unwavering stance regarding Te Rae ō te Papa. Consequently, we are elated to finally have our esteemed cultural values ratified by the Court's ruling. Our position has remained steadfast - no conceivable conditions could sufficiently mitigate the deposition of further waste onto our sacred maunga."

She continued, "We eagerly anticipate collaborating with the Councils and Waste Management to honour the Memorandum of Understanding that originally endeavoured to forestall an additional landfill on Te Rae ō te Papa. The Court has rightfully acknowledged provisions pertaining to our cultural values and discharges as paramount considerations, rather than automatically subordinating them to economic imperatives - a discordant approach from years past."

A ceremonial gathering to venerate the maunga and collectively reflect upon the Court's decision will be convened at Tirohia Marae this weekend.

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