The body responsible for the oversight of the Whanganui River says consultation on controversial earthworks on Punakewhitu/Gentle Annie land was about a soil management plan, not work on the cliff face.
"The consultation we had was based on a soil management plan, to make sure we limit soil entering Te Awa Tupua," Gerrard Albert, chairman of Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui, said in a statement.
"It is clear to us that the applicant and Horizons assume that engaging with us over a soil management plan is a 'sign-off' from hapū," Albert said.
Around 120 protesters gathered at the Punakewhitu/Gentle Annie lookout last week in response to the earthworks.
The landowner told the Whanganui Chronicle this week he was confident he followed all necessary processes, despite accusations there was no consultation with local hapū.
A consent was granted to landowner John Oskam to carry out the earthworks, which involved removing a portion of the cliff face near the Gentle Annie lookout to make way for a private road.
However, it was revealed this week that Horizons District Council, the authority in charge of issuing consents, did not consult local hapū about the work before issuing the consent.
Horizons apologised on Tuesday, admitting that they did not adequately consult with the affected community.
"Horizons apologises unreservedly for not including hapū in the consent process and for the hurt and distress caused as a result. Horizons also apologises directly to maunga Punakewhitu," the statement read.
Albert said: "On July 9 2020, Horizons sent us an email stating that an employee of the applicant was to speak with hapū. Horizons issued a consent in December without checking that this process had occurred."
However, Oskam said he was of the view that it was Ngā Tāngata Tiaki's role, not his, to engage with hapū.
"It was my understanding that it was NTT's job [to consult with hapū] - they signed off on it [the consent]. I was in a meeting with them, I took one of their people around the property and laid out what had to be done.
"My understanding was they signed off on that and on the basis of that, after meeting other Horizons criteria, Horizons engaged the consent."
Oskam said the work was still voluntarily on hold out of respect, and he was committed to finding a resolution.
"We suspended it on the understanding that local hapū would quickly get back to me and talk to me. That has not happened."
Oskam said he hasn't been made aware of the next steps and has had little contact with Horizons in recent days.
"I haven't heard anything - I was made aware that an apology was coming Tuesday night. There was no reason given why, just that it was going to happen.
"Like I said, I've been trying to reach out to anybody or everybody - it doesn't matter where or when, and so far nobody has stood up."
Oskam said it appeared all parties were attempting to point fingers.
"A lot of people, in my opinion, genuinely did the right thing, but the outcome wasn't to everybody's satisfaction.
"It appears to be a systems failure - commonly called a cock-up."
Horizons Regional Council was contacted for comment on Wednesday.