February 24, 2016
Kaitaia airport occupiers plead rights
A group who occupied the Kaitaia airport last year are in court today facing charges of trespass.
While half of the land has been placed in trust to be part of Ngati Kahu’s eventual treaty settlement, the occupiers want to whole site handed over to their iwi rather than be shared with neighbours Ngai Takoto.
September’s protest was timed to overshadow the passing of treaty settlement legislation for the other four Muriwhenua iwi.
Lawyer Annette Sykes says there’s a clear defence.
"The land in question at the aerodrome at Kaitaia is land that is set apart for treaty settlement and there will be a claim of right defence. It'll be a long protracted matter, I imagine it won't be determined till later in the year. So there is a lot going on in terms of Maori efforts to assert their rangatiratanga and the interaction with the crown and how that is going to be achieved," she says.
Annette Sykes says the defendants include 88-year-old Selwyn Clarke, who made headlines after his pension was cut off for not acknowledging the arrest warrant.
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