Iwi presses council for recognition

Last updated 12:00 27/03/2014

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Ngati Kahungunu says it has been insulted by being left out of a plan to put four Tararua reserves under the joint management of Rangitaane and the council.

Kahungunu representatives making submissions on the proposal at Tararua District Council hearings in Dannevirke yesterday said they wanted to be a third partner in the management of the reserves, as the iwi had interest in the land.

The council has proposed a joint management committee be set up with Rangitaane to administer the Dannevirke Domain, the Makirikiri Recreation Reserve, the Makirikiri Scenic Reserve and the Hamua Reserve.

Kahungunu ki Tamaki nui-a-rua Trust chairman Hayden Hape said in his submission that the council implied the Treaty settlement process involving Rangitaane was the only one in the district, even though there was also a distinct settlement process for Ngati Kahungunu in progress.

There had not been appropriate consideration of Kahungunu interests in the Makirikiri Recreation Reserve, the Makirikiri Scenic Reserve and the Hamua property.

He said the Crown had acknowledged the mana and presence of Kahungunu in the district and so should the council.

"My suggestion to the council in regard to reserves and any properties that will be shared with iwi is that it is shared with both."

He told the council: "We are not asking you for any money. We are asking you to put in the word ‘shared'."

Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa-Tamaki Nui a Rua Trust lead negotiator Ron Mark said the four reserves were within Kahungunu's area of interest "and the area in which we hold mana whenua".

"We were very surprised by the release of the statement of proposal to vest these properties exclusively in Rangitaane - and it is the word ‘exclusively' that in particular has surprised us - without any reference to us and our interests."

He said a failure to consult Kahungunu was a breach of the council's obligations under section 4 of the Local Government Act "and an insult to our status as tangata whenua - a status that has been recognised by the Maori Land Court on the application of the Tararua District Council".

He said the trust proposed that Kahungunu be included in a joint management committee managing the properties with the exception of the Hamua Recreation Reserve. It would not oppose the management of that property being shared between Rangitaane and the council.

"Please understand that this is a significant concession. The reason we are doing that is we want to move forward. We want to move forward jointly, because the Rangitaane blood runs through my veins just as the Kahungunu blood runs through theirs."

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Vesting the Hamua Reserve land with Rangitaane will destroy the Hamua community, Tararua councillors have heard.

Hamua Hall and Domain Board secretary Sandy Bourke said in a submission to the Tararua District Council yesterday the income from the reserve funded the Hamua Public Community Hall, memorial gates and community pool, which were the "heart and centre" of the Hamua community, north of Eketahuna.

The council was hearing submissions on a proposal to set up a joint management committee, with Rangitaane as a partner, to manage four reserves, one of which is the Hamua Reserve.

"By vesting the Hamua Reserve land with Rangitaane you will be destroying our Hamua community," Ms Bourke said.

"We have seen in the past as other halls in the Tararua district have closed, so too has the area lost its identity."

She said chief Nireaha Tamaki had gifted the land to residents in 1896, and he and the residents had worked hard to make it something they could be proud of.

Residents wanted to know the impact on the future of the hall, the Hamua Roll of Honour, memorial gates and ancestral oak trees.

She criticised the council for not providing Hamua residents with more answers before the proposal was made.

- Manawatu Standard


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