Feb. 4, 2021, 4:24 p.m.
A maunga in the heart of Opua continues to be occupied by local hapū in a protest against the sale by the Far North District Council to an overseas development company.
Puketiti has been sold by Far North Holdings to a Chinese developer to build 17 apartments at a price of 1.2mil each and was once a look out point for a number of connecting hapu in the area and is considered wahi tapu. Protest Spokesperson Tony Williams says there are currently four claims before the Waitangi tribunal and Te Roroa were not consulted about the proposed development.
“Our people get nothing. Before our water was clear but now I wouldn't let my mokos swim in there. The development that has been happening here has destroyed our moana and our kai.”
Sir James Henare submitted the first claim 30 years ago which sought the control of the whenua to be returned to the people of Ngāpuhi.
The occupation and treaty claims have gained support from many residents including local group SOS from Opua after a private legal battle against Far North Holdings became costly.
“Since we failed, there are two courses of action, hopefully the treaty claim will work so we are 100% behind them. The resource management act or coastal plan are not protecting our coastal environment, Opua is a prime example, Puketiti is our soul” SOS spokesperson Ron Cook said.