June 13, 2016
Court blow can’t stem love of whenua
A lawyer for Bay of Plenty iwi Ngati Whakahemo, Willie Te Aho, says the iwi won’t rest in its efforts to get back land sold by state owned enterprise Landcorp.
The Supreme Court has found the Office of Treaty Settlements gave wrong advice that Ngati Whakahemo’s claims had been settled.
As a result Landcorp’s shareholding ministers and the Ministry for Treaty Negotiations refused to stop Landcorp selling the Wharere Farm without giving the iwi a chance to make an offer.
But a majority of judges ruled out taking further action, because they say it would affect the rights of the new owner.
Mr Te Aho says the buyers went into the deal with their eyes open, and they know the iwi is challenging how the crown ended up with such an important part of its tribal estate.
"If I throw a stone from Pukehina Marae I'll hit Wharere Farm. The other land that surrounds Pukehina Marae is all Maori owned land so this is not a case of saying, 'oh look we'll take a lesser settlement for the wrongs that have been done by the Crown.' The whanau, the hapu, the iwi of Ngati Whakahemo want that land back," he says.
Mr Te Aho says the iwi will seek to get the land returned under the resumption clause of the State Owned Enterprise Act, which allows the Waitangi Tribunal to order the compulsory repurchase and return of land.
Copyright © 2016, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com