Ōpotiki District Council today voted to hand over some of its reserves to Te Whānau-ā-Apanui. as part of its Treaty settlement.
The council was jointly asked by Te Arawhiti and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui today at a packed council meeting.
Ōpōtiki District Councillor Louis Rāpihana said in a Facebook post immediately after the hui today, "Kua tau, kua tau te whakaaro o te Kaunihera o Ōpōtiki. The joint request with Te Arawhiti, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and council with the returning of reserves to the hapū of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui.
"This is a major milestone for Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and the settlement of their Treaty grievances. The house [Ōpōtiki Council chambers] was full today. It was a very moving sight to see so many people come to engage with this heightened topic."
"I walked away from the table during the debate and voting due to my role at the table of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui hapū chairs. It was a bit touch and go, especially with the Whanarua Bay Reserves. No rēira e te Iwi kua tau ai Te Kaunihera me Whakahoki kātika".
Rāpihana said, "This is a co-governance structure of hapū and council that will find a solution to the access to the lower baches that currently use a roadway around lot 80. Koa ana te ngākau mo ēnei whakaritenga! This is a great outcome and I look forward to the future of this outcome".
What happens next
The council accepted the joint request o transfer the reserves to Te Whānau-ā-Apanui be approved, with several conditions:
- All reserves identified by the joint request are transferred to Te Whānau-ā-Apanui (via the Crown) and, with the exception of Whanarua Bay Recreation Reserve, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui is the sole administering body of the reserves.
- In the case of Whanarua Bay Recreation Reserve, the reserves are transferred to Te Whānau-ā-Apanui (via the Crown) and a joint administering body is formed between iwi and council to administer and manage the reserve. The development of the reserve management plan will focus on resolving access arrangements.
- All other processes that are necessary to legalise and give effect to the transfer of ownership and reserve administration being carried out.