August 16, 2020
Foreshore rights put to test
The first major courtroom test of the Marine and Coastal Area Act starts today in Rotorua, where the High Court will hear claims and cross-claims for the eastern Bay of Plenty.
The application for recognition of customary marine title was made by the late Claude Edwards, Adriana Edwards and others on behalf of Te Whakatōhea.
More than a dozen other groups have also presented claims in the area, including various Whakatōhea hapū clusters and neighbours Te Whānau ā Apanui, Upokorehe and Ngāti Awa.
Justice Churchman has given instructions for how the hearing at the Rotorua Events Centre will be conducted under COVID-19 restrictions, and he has also indicated a facilitated tikanga process will be part of the proceedings if needed to resolve cross-claims.
The Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act was the National-Māori Party Government's replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act and offers claimants a choice of direct negotiation of claims to a customary title or a court process, which requires them to prove an unbroken interest in a particular area.
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