Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi and Craggy Range have this morning signed an agreement to work together to build an alternative track up Te Mata peak for the community to enjoy.
After months of controversy over the zig-zag track that was built by Craggy Range in December last year, the two parties said they were looking forward to working together to develop the land.
Ngāti Kahungunu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana, Craggy Range winery director Mary-Jeanne Hutchinson and Craggy Range chief executive Michael Wilding this morning announced the two parties had jointly bought 28ha on the eastern face of the peak off the Drabble family that included the current walking track.
Wilding said the current track would be closed and in conjunction with mana whenua a cultural impact study would be conducted to identify sites of significance that would guide where an alternative track would be built.
"This has been done with the support of the Wilding, Lowe and McHardy families.
"Now we own the ridgeline we can expand the walk along there assuming there's no areas of cultural significance," Wilding said.
"It will be a longer but more culturally sensitive walk," said Hutchinson.
The new track would recognise and protect areas of cultural significance and aesthetic value, would recognise mana whenua as kaitiakitanga of hapu and iwi, retain recreational access for all.
The partners to the agreement said a new track would enable Ngāti Kahunungu to tell the stories of the seven faces of Te Mata and Rongokako, the history of the land and other sites of cultural significance.
"There's very little knowledge about the cultural history of that area - we will work alongside each other to ensure the historical stories will be told so people that do visit will also know the history from the many perspectives of the different marae who each tell a different story about Te Mata and Rongokako," said Tomoana.
Wilding said the land would be purchased in a trust, the benefactors of which would be Ngāti Kahungunu and the Hawke's Bay community.
The aim was to close off the existing track and start working on the new one as soon as possible.
The newly purchased land would also allow a new safe carpark to be built where at the bottom of the current track, able to accommodate 25 vehicles.
"While no one wants to go through this process again, we believe out of this adversity we all have a better understanding of each other's view and are actually delivering a better solution for the whole community," the partners said.