Five marae in the Northern Wairoa area have been approached by Tegel Foods Ltd for consultation over the company’s proposed broiler chicken farm at Arapohue with two declining the invitation.
In addition to the disputed hui, held without consulting Kapehu Marae, in Auckland on June 6, Kapehu, Naumai, Oturei and Ripia and Te Houhanga were invited to individual hui organised by Tegel. Kapehu, Ripia and Te Houhanga declined Tegel’s request.
“Naumai had one hui on Monday morning (June 11) but declined Tegel’s request for a second one,” said Kapehu Marae chair, Professor Margaret Mutu.
Kapehu Marae released a statement expressing concern that the purpose of these hui were Tegel’s attempt at gaining the support of the other marae and for them to put pressure on Kapehu Marae to be in favour of the farm.
“Tegel are now trying to hold hui on other marae in the Northern Wairoa to gain their support instead.
We would appreciate the support of the marae by not engaging in the process.”
A Tegel spokeswoman said the hui are part of the ongoing community consultation regarding the project.
“The purpose of the hui is to provide information on Tegel’s proposal to build a state-of-the-art free-range poultry farm at Arapohue in Northland and to give attendees the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposal.
“The plans for these hui have come out of ongoing discussions and engagement between Tegel and local mana whenua over several months, including the hui that Tegel attended at Kapehu Marae in May. We are approaching the hui with good faith, and a genuine desire to engage and listen.”
The proposed facility could stock up to 1.3 million chickens and employ 32 people on 250 hectares of land at Arapohue.
Broiler chickens would be raised on-site and transported to Tegel's processing plant in Auckland for slaughter.
Objections from Kapehu Marae have focussed on close proximity to the marae cemetery, as well as perceived noise and pollution threats.