December 22, 2020
Te Henga dream site for Te Kawerau a Maki marae
Te Kawerau ā Maki chair Te Warena Taua says the transfer of a five-acre block at Te Henga/ Bethells Beach for a dream realised.
The iwi lived in the area until about 1920, but their kainga was hit by floods after the building of water storage dams in the Waitākere Ranges.
Mr Taua says the land was very important to Te Kawerau, and he acknowledges the contribution of John Wheeler, a descendant of the original Bethell settler family, and his friend Eli Friedlander.
"They were the last, under the Pākehā system, legal owners of the land, and he came to me and said 'Te Warena, I'm calling you from hospital.' He said his aunt came to him in a dream and said 'you need to sell this land to Kawerau.' So here we are today. It took a long time, over 20 years," he says.
Te Warena Taua says the land Waitakere City Council on behalf of Te Kawerau ā Maki in exchange for the iwi giving up its option to buy surplus railway land which was needed for the council headquarters, but it has taken years to rezone the land and transfer it.
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