Dispute continues eviction of whānau from ancestral land

By Dean Nathan

Police have evicted a Far North family from their ancestral lands following a court order.  The Tahere family has been living on the Rangihamama farm for three generations, but they've been caught up in a land dispute. 

The debate over the land continues, with the presence of Omapere-Rangihamama Trustee notifying the family of their eviction.

Trustee Taoko Wihongi told Te Kāea, “All I said to the family at this stage is that I'm like a puppy that's been sent here to bark, which poses the question as to what those in charge are doing to address the situation here.  That's the crux of my words to the family.  Look at them, I do feel sorry for them.”

This matter has been before the courts for a number of years.

Ngati Tautahi member Toko Tahere says, “I liken my relation Sonny (Tau) to this saying: We've reached an agreement in good faith to address this matter, but he's now changed his position on it.”

Wihongi says, “Now that the issue has come to a head they're asking, where is the management? True leaders lead from the front and don't run away.  Our elders said if you're going to fight you lead from the front.”

Today the court order for the eviction of all 60 members of the Tahere family, parents, children and grandchildren from the land has been carried out.

Tahere says, “It's very difficult for us. It's a wet winter and this eviction is upon us, so we're looking to find accommodation for our family somewhere else.  But the issue of this land is not finished.  We'll continue our fight for the return of our home.”

This year the Omapere-Rangihamama farm won the prestigious Ahuwhenua award for farming excellence.