Tuhourangi Tribal Authority Press Statement
Pink and White Terraces Location
March 23, 2018
In response to recent media attention regarding an announcement about the possible location of the Pink & White Terraces, Tuhourangi Tribal Authority (TTA) chairman Alan Skipwith said he was deeply disappointed at the lack of consultation with iwi and said the announcement was premature.
The terraces were thought to have been lost forever after the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera, and if they still exist would be located on sacred ancestral land belonging to the iwi.
Mr Skipwith said any announcement regarding possible locations for the terraces, once known as the Eighth Wonder of the World, would be made once further scientific investigation had been completed in the coming months.
"My apologies go out to our iwi as this announcement was not expected or approved and I want to assure the iwi that the TTA is solely focussed on attempting to prove the location of the terraces and that any conclusions and subsequent plans would be a matter for a hui-a-iwi.
"The terraces are of great cultural significance to Tuhourangi and the opportunity to rediscover them is also of great interest to New Zealanders, and to a worldwide audience.
"However, there have been numerous attempts and similar statements made in the past as to possible locations for the terraces with assurances that those conclusions have withstood scientific scrutiny and peer review.
"Unfortunately, none of those investigations have proven fruitful and this has highlighted the need to be very confident we are searching in the right locations when conducting ongoing field investigations - extensive fieldwork in 2017 taught us that.
"Consequently, an independent review of the reverse engineering, survey principles, and data used to locate the terraces, and the placement of Hochstetter’s map on today’s landscape, has been requested by TTA."
Mr Skipwith said TTA were being advised by a number of highly qualified and experienced researchers, scientists and geologists, and NIWA, as part of this team of experts, is tasked with completing those checks.
He said NIWA also propose further non-invasive work that would enable researchers to tighten the search area.
"We are all indebted to Dr Sascha Nolden and Mr Rex Bunn for their research and scientific paper published in 2016 that set us on this path to potentially prove the location of the terraces.
"But, we are in no position to conclusively state where they could be and any announcement to the contrary would be misleading to iwi members and the general public.
"Our focus at this stage is on trying to pinpoint an exact location, nothing more."
Mr Skipwith said Tuhourangi acknowledged the discovery of Ferdinand Von Hochstetter’s field journal by Dr Nolden and the tribute he had accorded Tuhourangi in gifting the iwi a copy.
"There was also some great work done by Dr Cornel De Ronde of GNS back in 2014 that he respectfully shared with the iwi and it would seem prudent as part of our due diligence, that we reach out to them as well.
"As stated earlier, we are in no position to confirm the locations of the terraces and we are continuing to conduct a rigorous scientific study of the area in the hope they can be located."
Tuhourangi Tribal Authority chairman Alan Skipwith (0274) 905 724