May 28, 2014
Bill means church can return land
Land in central Tauranga can now be returned to mana whenua hapu more than a century after the Anglican church locked it away.
Parliament last night passed a bill transferring land from the New Zealand Mission Trust to the newly created Otamataha Trust, which will be appointed by Ngati Tapu and Ngaitamarawaho.
The land has been held by the Trust Board as a charitable trust since 1896, for the purpose of spiritually benefiting and instructing local Maori.
Until 1998 the board was made up of Anglican Church appointees, but since 1998 the trustees have been appointed by the hapu.
Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell, who sponsored the bill, says the Church Missionary Society took advantage of the punishment meted out to Tauranga tribes after the battles at Te Ranga and Pukehinahina to grab the land.
He says the bill should provide the incentive for reconciliation between Maori and the Crown, and Maori and the church.
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