A Labour MP has accused Kapiti Expressway workers of being "extremely offensive" to Maori by eating their lunch at a wahi tapu site as historical human remains lay nearby.
Darien Fenton said at a transport and industrial relations select committee meeting yesterday that the workers were spotted eating their lunch at the wahi tapu site at El Rancho, Waikanae, which includes the Takamore urupa, and a macrocarpa known as the Maketu tree.
But the New Zealand Transport Agency denied that the particular site in question was wahi tapu, and believed appropriate protocols were followed.
Ms Fenton told the committee she had spoken to two women from Te Ati Awa. "[They] understood the site was tapu until the archaeologists had finished their work, yet we found workers having lunch onsite which was extremely offensive to local Maori."
Speaking later, she said that seeing workers eating on the sacred site, with recently discovered human remains from the burial site nearby, had shocked her.
"It was incredibly culturally insensitive and showed a degree of ignorance I didn't think existed in New Zealand any more.
"I was pretty gobsmacked by it all. People are already stressed enough. Everybody should know that the whole site is wahi tapu."
Maori used to eat people and yet they can be offended when others eat any other type of food near long dead bodies? How does that make any sense??
Related link: Workers eating at 'sacred' site offend Maori - MP ~ Stuff