Waitara land on agenda

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 04/08/2014

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The New Plymouth District Council last week passed a proposal to begin talks with Te Atiawa post-settlement governance entity (PSGE) about 40ha of Waitara endowment land.

Under the proposal Te Atiawa will take ownership of 40ha of Waitara endowment land and the iwi will have the right of refusal to purchase other endowment land.

In exchange, the iwi would support the removal of all statutory trusts and restrictions on the use of any income and sale proceeds from the land through a local bill. This would pave the way for the council to be able to offer to Waitara leaseholders the option to freehold their properties.

Mayor Andrew Judd said there were many details to work through and many people to talk with. "At the end of the day, what we all want is a solution that benefits iwi, the wider Waitara community, leaseholders and the council."

PSGE chairwoman Liana Poutu said Te Atiawa wanted to have representation on the community entity that would manage how the funds would be distributed in Waitara. Despite only having a couple of days to get to grips with the proposal, they were committed to the process.

However, not everybody is happy. Members of Otaraua and Manukorihi hapu made deputations at the meeting saying they had not been consulted about the proposal.

Rawiri Doorbar, from Otaraua hapu, tabled a "Notice of Objection", which states the hapu wants to be included in any negotiations with Te Atiawa. If not, the hapu reserves the right to legally challenge the council's decision.

Councillor Gordon Brown said the proposal was the beginning of a process they could look back on and be proud of as one community.

When discussions have been completed the mayor will report to the council for its consideration.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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