Ngāti Manu celebrate major step in return of Otuihu Pā after 177 years

By Kelvin McDonald
Ngāti Manu kaumātua Arapeta Hamilton.  Photo / File

Ngāti Manu hapū in the Bay of Islands is celebrating the first stage of the return of Otuihu Pā after 177 years. 

Private landowner John McIntosh has sold the Otuihu Pā site to the Crown which plans to return it to Ngāti Manu as redress, an RNZ report says.

The hapū and the McIntosh whānau celebrated the occasion at Kāretu marae earlier today.

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In the 1800s, Otuihu Pā was a trading centre and home to Ngāti Manu rangātira Pōmare II. But in April 1845, it was razed by the Crown and the land seized. It ended up in private hands, and ultimately that of the McIntosh whānau.

Ngāti Manu kaumātua Arapeta Hamilton told RNZ on Friday that the return was a huge moment for the iwi.

"Our old people, my old people, dreamt of getting it back. They talked about it on our marae and this is years ago, this is 30 - 40 years ago. To actually be in the process of getting it back is huge," Hamilton said.