The eruption of opinions, emotions and divisions which emerged in the wake of the otherwise simple building of a pathway on the eastern face of Te Mata Peak caught a lot of people out.

The pathway had been built with sincere intentions, and effectively reflected the feelings of pride founders and owners the Peabody family had for Hawke's Bay.

They have developed the winery into an internationally recognised gem on the winemaking landscape, and have always promoted the region tirelessly.

Read more: Opinion split over Te Mata Peak track, alternative path under discussion


"Our decision to purchase the land and build the walking path was made with the best of intentions and was not taken lightly," Craggy Range CEO Mike Wilding said.

"It was not a commercial venture."

For Mr Wilding and the Craggy Range team soothing, sorting and settling what had grown into a major issue was far removed from the usual working day, but it was clear the family values which drive the globally acclaimed winery were quick to come through.

As Mr Wilding put it — "it has certainly been a stark contrast to day-to-day business".

He said the Craggy Range brand had "taken a hit" but when something like that happened it had to be correctly and quickly addressed.

"It is incredibly important you face into it and act decisively with both integrity and transparency — personally I believe that was the right thing to do and so did our board."

There had been something of a positive learning curve behind the disappointment of seeing the pathway ambition dissolve.

"By sitting down and listening to as many people's perspectives as possible it has given me huge appreciation for the wildly diverse views that prevail across our community, especially when it comes to issues of property rights, commercial access and recognition of cultural and environmental value," Mr Wilding said.

"Some of the views people have expressed have been enormously confronting, and I believe as a community we need to spend much more time genuinely engaging and listening to each other."

He said Te Mata Peak was a site of huge regional significance.

"So I think the community deserves to understand much more about its cultural and environmental sensitivities and what that means for developments on the peak, be they recreational or otherwise.

"As a result we have received a huge amount of support from the community, which we very much appreciate."

Mr Wilding said it was going to take "a reasonable amount of time" to work alongside the other parties and lead the development of an alternative track, which Craggy Range was absolutely committed to.

"To balance this with the day to day needs of our business, we have appointed one of our advisory board members, John Stace, to lead the next phase," he said.

"John is based locally, is immensely experienced from a business, governance and engagement perspective, but most importantly is incredibly passionate about Te Mata Peak and this project — we are very lucky to have him on board."

Mr Wilding said being a Hastings born and bred lad he was as passionate about the peak as anyone else.

It was an issue that had to be resolved to the best of everyone's satisfaction.

He said the company's consultants were now in the process of developing the removal and remediation plan and at this stage did not know what the cost would be.

"We will be applying for resource consent for the remediation work in February and we hope to commence the work in the autumn."