October 05, 2021
Farm paid for historic battle
The chair of the giant Mangatu Incorporation on the East Coast says having a successful farming operation has helped bankroll an almost 40-year fight to get its land back.
The Waitangi Tribunal has ordered the crown to hand over to Te Aitanga ā Mahaki, Ngā Uri o Tamanui and Te Whānau ā Kai an 8600-acre block taken in 1961 for erosion control and an adjoining sister block.
While the tribunal did not include the incorporation in the order, Mangatu has a memorandum of understanding with Mahaki to receive some of the land and compensation and have its costs reimbursed.
Alan Haronga says Mangatu kicked off the process in 1992, and over the years it has spent considerable amounts on lawyers, economists and historians as it has gone from the tribunal to the Supreme Court and back again.
“We had to reeducate everyone, other claimants and so forth, and we had to prove to a very high standard our evidence was beyond reproach and we are just grateful to the Waitangi Tribunal they took that on board and it is reflected in the comprehensive 460-page report,” he says.
The crown has 90 days from September 30 to either negotiate an alternate settlement or seek a judicial review of the tribunal’s recommendation.