Puriri Park could be Whangarei's next legal land battle

By Raniera Harrison

Pūriri Park could be where the next legal land battle could take place in Whangarei.

Huhana Lyndon of  Te Huinga o Ngā Hapū o Whangārei says, "If the iwi decides to take legal action, then that's what we will do. If the iwi looks to make a stand in protest, we will also do that."

A Whangarei hapū is making a stand against the proposed erection of a sustainable housing project in one of the city's affluent suburbs. They are challenging the authority for decisions to be made.

Lyndon explains, "In Whangarei, there are numerous pieces of land that are similar to what has happened here. This is a warning to the Crown that the hapū of Whangarei are watching."

In a statement to Te Kāea, a Housing New Zealand (HNZ) spokesperson said, "It's far too early for Housing New Zealand to be talking about it" and "If HNZ ends up purchasing the land we'd be very happy to talk."

Lyndon says, "We haven't heard anything from the Crown about Pūriri."

Documents obtained by Te Kāea describe that Pūriri Park was acquired by the Crown in the 1960s "for education purposes", and eventually placed under the Ministry of Education. In 2014, the ministry decides to dispose of the land and offer it to Whangārei District Council and HNZ, who both declined.

"There are numerous sites of spiritual significances around the suburb of Maunu. We want to sit and discuss this land issue with the correct parties to have the land returned," says Lyndon.

Records suggest that this year, HNZ was approached again for the "development of sustainable housing" and the process is "moderately advanced."

"This is Te Parawhau land. Te Parawhau will have the final dissent of authority on how we move forward for the betterment of all involved," says Lyndon.

Te Parawhau hapū will be meeting at Whangārei Terenga Parāoa Marae tomorrow to discuss the matter at length.