July 31, 2023
Wakatu land challenge nears final hurdle
Nelson’s Wakatu Incorporation is counting on a High Court case next month to finally resolve its long-running battle over its missing land.
As well as funding treaty claims for iwi in Te Tau Iwi, the incorporation has pursued a parallel track challenging the crown’s retention of much of the 22,000 hectares which was supposed to be reserved for the original owners when land was sold to the New Zealand Company in 1839.
Its manager of culture and people, Ropata Taylor, says the Crown has made the matter more difficult than it needed to be – and it’s time for it to restore its mana and honour.
“Ultimately what we want, is the crown to return our property to us. They’re still in possession of a huge amount of our land, and they’re the largest land owner in our region, and the Supreme Court was really clear, that they’re in possession of our property and they need to return it to us,” he says.
The case will be heard in the High Court in Wellington on August 14.