August 16, 2015
Maori land court rules on taonga
A lengthy legal spat between a number of Northland hapu over taonga found during road construction near Kerikeri has ended.
The Maori Land Court has ruled that the more than seven-century old taonga which consist mainly of wooden agricultural implements found in an area settled between 420-750 years ago should remain in the hands Te Runanga o Ngati Rehia for safe keeping however it could not determine either the traditional owners of the artefacts or the original landowners of the place where they were found.
Judge Michael Doogan says Ngati Rehia estiblished it had appropriate proposals for safekeeping and preservation of the taonga close to where they were found in 2008.
Ngati Rehia trustee Nora Rameka says they are happy the matter has finally concluded.
Hone Mihaka, a spokesman for Ngati Hineira,Te Uri Taniwha and Ngati Rangi who had contested owership says the decision does not mean Ngati Rehia won the legal fight just that the Court acknowledged they have the capacity to look after the taonga for and on behalf of the other hapu as well.
The taonga consist of nine ko or wooden digging implements, three pounders, two footpegs, seven unnamed tools, two paddle and a pou.
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