NZTA drops appeal for Grace land

Last updated 05:00 20/06/2014

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The New Zealand Transport Agency has dropped its appeal against a Maori Land Court decision that writer Patricia Grace's ancestral land in Waikanae become a Maori reservation.

In March, the Maori Land Court upheld Grace's application for her 5770-square-metre parcel of land north of Waikanae River to become a Maori reservation. The land was required for the Kapiti expressway.

The land had been passed down to her from her great-great-grandfather Wiremu Parata Te Kakakura, who donated substantial parcels of land to establish the township.

NZTA lodged an appeal against the decision, but has now said it is no longer pursuing it.

Grace also won a case heard in the Environment Court in April, against the Crown seizing her land. In their decision, Judge Craig Thompson and commissioners Kevin Prime and David Kernohan acknowledged the historical significance of the land.

During the Environment Court hearing, Crown lawyer Malcolm Parker said changing the route could cost taxpayers an extra $16 million. Of six routes considered, the one involving Grace's land affected the smallest amount of Maori and waahi tapu land.

NZTA said yesterday that no decisions had been made yet about any changes or adjustments to the route.

"The Transport Agency is in discussions with a number of parties and it would be inappropriate for us to discuss these private matters until they are concluded.

"We continue to work in good faith with Mrs Grace to find a solution that is beneficial to all. When decisions are made, they will be released to the public."

Grace did not wish to comment.

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- The Dominion Post

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