June 10, 2013
Whakarewarewa split decided
A long-running dispute over ownership of the Whakarewarewa Valley has been resolved with an arbitration panel declaring 50:50 joint ownership by Ngāti Whakaue and Ngāti Wahiao.
It’s a loss for the Tuhourangi Tribal Authority, which wanted to have Tuhourangi and Ngāti Wahiao recognised as one single, inseparable iwi entitled to ownership of the valley.
The panel said while some Tuhourangi refugees joined their relatives at Whakarewarewa after the 1886 Tarawera eruption and their descendants could now whakapapa directly to Ngāti Wahiao, not all Tuhourangi were Ngāti Wahiao.
The decision covers Te Roto ā Tamaheke, Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs and Southern Arikikapakapa Reserves, where the Rotorua tourist attraction Te Puia is located.
Since it was returned by the Crown in 2008, the 70 hectares has been managed by the Whakarewarewa Joint Trust, which includes representatives from Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Wahiao, Tuhourangi and Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust.
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