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Published: 2008-05-16 00:00:00

An Environment Waikato hearing committee has taken steps to accommodate local iwi sensitivities in its approval of a consent to build a road at an existing residential subdivision near Maukutea Dr in Aotea.

The subdivision site is land of significance to local Maori.

So the hearing committee reviewed an existing archaeological assessment for the entire subdivision site when deciding whether or not to grant the resource consent for the new road. 
 
The committee said that based on the evidence it had seen there were no specific sites of historic and cultural importance within the actual area where the road is to be built.

But the committee has imposed strict consent conditions to ensure anything of such importance is protected if it is found while the road is being built.

These include:

  • iwi members must be notified before construction of the road begins.
  • iwi members are entitled to be on site while the work is being carried out.
  • if any archaeological artifacts or human remains are found while the road is being built, work must cease to allow agencies, including Environment Waikato and the Historic Places Trust, to assess the finds.  Further archaeological investigations would then be carried out if warranted.

Aotea Estates Limited applied to Environment Waikato for a resource consent needed to build the proposed road last year.  The consent was for carrying out earthworks in a high risk erosion area and for associated discharges to air and water.

The committee considered the resource consent application at hearings in Kawhia on January 23-24 and April 22.

The proposed road is part of the fourth construction phase at the existing Aotea subdivision near Maukutea Dr.  A land use consent for the subdivision was approved by Otorohanga District Council in 1998.

In addition to iwi issues, matters discussed at the hearings included concerns about an old sheep dip site at the subdivision and questions about environmental impacts.

With regard to the sheep dip site, Aotea Estates will be required to submit a remediation plan to ensure any contamination is appropriately dealt with before any earthworks can begin.

The committee was satisfied steps would be taken to address storm water run off, flooding, sedimentation and erosion issues during and following earthworks.

Stormwater discharges would be to land and consequently would not affect the waters of Aotea Harbour.

The committee found the proposed activity would have “no more than minor actual or potential adverse effects on the environment”.