Photo credit: David Fisher / NZ Herald
A privately-owned waterside property in Taipa is to be returned to Ngāti Kahu after a five-week occupation by the Northland iwi led to the purchase of the land by the Crown.
On Saturday, Treaty Minister Andrew Little and Crown-Māori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis confirmed the purchase of the 0.8 hectare property on the banks of the Taipa River and intent to return the land to iwi.
"It's the Crown showing more agility in how it responds to issues hapū and iwi are raising," Little told the NZ Herald.
It is understood the property, which Ngāti Kahu also occupied in 2010 when it was listed for sale but subsequently taken off the market for more than a decade after the history of the land was explained to owner Todd Male, was purchased for about $1.5 million.
The fresh occupation was prompted by a decision about a month ago to again list the property, with Male telling the NZ Herald he knew who he wanted as the new owners. "And it's all worked out," he said.
Ngāti Kahu are joyous about plans for the return of the land that private ownership has separated them from for 180 years.
"There's another 10,000 to 20,000 hectares that still needs to come back. Once we go home and get energised, we might just sit ourselves somewhere else," Ngāti Kahu's Wi Popata, kaitiaki of the occupation, said during speeches.
The Crown is still to properly engage with Ngāti Kahu in Treaty settlement talks, although the NZ Herald reports there are now talks about having talks.
"There is a long journey to go yet," Little indicated during speeches.