Dec. 8, 2021, 9:16 a.m.
For six weeks prior to the Government's recent purchase of the culturally significant 0.8ha block of land in Māheatai, known as the Taipa Reserve Point, there has been a noho whenua which saw Ngāti Kahu iwi and hapū members occupying the land after it was put on the market to be sold at auction.
Last week a hui took place, where Ngāti Kahu invited the Crown to meet at Māheatai, following the Crown's $1.4m purchase of the land the week before. There was a haka pōhiri which took place to welcome representatives of the Crown and Government including Hon. Andrew Little (Minister of Waitangi Treaty Negotiations), Hon. Kelvin Davis (Minister of Crown Māori Relations) and Willow-Jean Prime (Local Northland MP).
In the past decade, in 2010 there was an occupation that took place involving some of the same people whose ultimate goal was for this land to be returned to the iwi. At the time there, the response from the community was very different and no one would have foreseen the Crown stepping in to buy the land back which makes this resolution unique.
The Crown has said that they are keen for the land to go back to the iwi, however the land will be banked until a day where the iwi of Ngāti Kahu signs a treaty settlement post Waitangi tribunal negotiations which are ongoing. Looking ahead, that could potentially be years away.
Kaikorero Daphne Popata and the group involved are seeking an innovative resolution and proposed a challenge to the Crown - if there is a way that the land can be returned pre-settlement. If that isn’t possible, a second option is to enter an agreement where Ngāti Kahu assume responsibility for the land and implement their Kaitiakitanga in the interim.
Ngati Kahu and the Crown will enter into further discussions, but the overall response from both sides is positive - and they’re looking to a post-settlement future where Ngati Kahu iwi and hapū have their land returned.
Tags: Taipa Occupation