October 15, 2014
Judge sets ground rules for ecological island
Owners of land on Maungatautari in central Waikato have been told they can’t stop the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust charging for guided tours on the mountain.
But the Maori Land Court has also ruled the trust can’t charge a fee for public access to the walkway over the Maori block, and it can’t charge owners.
Judge Stephen Clark says there have been tensions between the trust, the owners and the Waipa District Council, which has a lease on the block.
Most of the block, along with scenic reserves owned by the crown or the council, is behind the 47 kilometre predator-proof fence surrounding the mountain.
Judge Clark says the lease between the owners and the council envisaged commercial activities as a way to offset the cost of building and maintaining the fence and the whenua.
He also ruled against a $20 processing fee to registering people brought in to carry out work on the block on behalf of the trust or the council.
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