THE Top Gear television show has angered iwi with its plans to race a car along Northland’s Ninety Mile Beach.
Controversal host Jeremy Clarkson is supposed to race a car along the sand, requiring the beach to be closed for 45 minutes.
That has upset the local iwi who say there has been a lack of consultation about the use of a sacred Maori site.
However Clarkson and the rest of the crew were a no-show at the appointed time, disappointing tourists and ensuring the only obstruction to the beach was protesters blocking entry with vehicles.
Ngao Takoto spokesperson Mangu Awaru told Fairfax NZ:
“You have a person like Jeremy Clarkson, who thinks he is above everybody and doesn’t need to come and talk to our people.”
The show is watched by millions of people in 200 countries, bringing publicity to the region money couldn’t buy, but Awaru said they were unhappy about the beach being portrayed as a race track.
“Those 200 countries will see that place as a race track rather than what it really is: it’s a sacred pathway where we travel when we move on to the next world,” he said.
“It’s a sacred pathway not a speedtrack.”
While in the country the Top Gear time is reportedly racing an America’s Cup yacht from the Coromandel to Northland, as well as taking the Pumpkin Seed car out on Ninety Mile Beach.