Rotorua District Council says it’s drawing up a memorandum of understanding with Ngati Pikiao – so it doesn’t repeat the same mistake and chop down a sacred Te Arawa tree.
The Mangeao tree, named after a Ngati Pikiao tipuna, Te Pou a Taranui – stood on the side the highway between Rotorua and Tauranga – not far from Okere Falls.
TangataWhenua.com understands that the tree was used to place tupapaku (bodies of deceased whanau members) when whanau went to visit the marae.
The council felled the tree, which was not registered as a sacred site, because it was a roadside hazard.
Kaupapa Maori director Mauriora Kingi says the council is saddened by the mistake.
He says a positive to emerge from the error is a memorandum of understanding to be drawn up so Ngati Pikiao will be advised before certain council work is carried out in the tribe’s rohe.
— Radio NZ