The controversy over the Te Mata Peak track is getting uglier and uglier.

And ugly is a word that's been bandied about a lot by those opposed to the $300,000 walking track up the peak's eastern slope.

The zig-zag-shaped trail was created by Craggy Range Winery on Waimarama Rd in December, after Hastings District Council granted resource consent.

Although the winery closed the track and said they would remove it after an outcry from iwi and opponents, people have continued to use it.


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Last week Craggy Range said it wouldn't be able to remove the controversial Te Mata track after all, saying the removal would not be as simple as they'd thought, and would not achieve an outcome to everyone's satisfaction.

Unfortunately, I think we're well beyond universal satisfaction.

And Craggy Range did recognise this, presenting a landscape report setting out five options, with chief executive Mike Wilding saying an outcome that satisfied everyone was almost impossible without compromise.

Aggrieved iwi could say they're not interested in a solution that satisfies anyone else, and they have a good case to say this.

But passion is strong on both sides of this debate and Wilding is right, without compromise there will be a lot of unhappy locals.

Ngāti Kahungunu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana is also right. The issue has caused "a chasm in our community" that has brought the worst of racist and class comments.

These commenters are ignorant and should be ignored by both sides. What's important is finding common ground, a way forward, and, hopefully, a way to heal this deep scar dividing a business that wants to do right by its community, tangata whenua who feel their cultural beliefs have been trampled on, and supporters on both sides.

As Hastings schoolgirl Hena Dugh said in her award-winning Race Unity speech, with a nod to Cherokee legend: "We all have a choice - whether to feed the wolf of compassion, peace and acceptance or the wolf of resentment and racism ... Which wolf will you feed?".