The Te Pohue Domain has been cleared by the Hastings District Council to be used as part of a settlement package for a Treaty of Waitangi Claim lodged by Maungaharuru-Tangitu Incorporation.
The council voted unanimously to "approve in principle" a proposal by the Office of Treaty Settlements to vest ownership of the domain, which was Crown land, to the hapu claimant group yesterday.
Representatives of the hapu met with the Te Pohue community last week to outline its historical claim. People heard there would be few changes to the way they enjoyed the domain if the ownership was vested to the hapu.
Following the meeting, a set of conditions were written as part of the agreement in principle report presented to the council yesterday by its parks and property services manager Colin Hosford.
It included a condition that the council continue to manage and administer the recreation reserve. The Te Pohue-Upper Mohaka Domain management committee could also continue to administer the hall on the reserve.
Councillor Tania Kerr, whose constituency included the rural Te Pohue district between Napier and Taupo, was keen to make sure the conditions in the agreement met the expectations of her community.
"How do we make sure that what the claimant said to our community is picked up in the recommendations in this report? If there was an event to happen to the hall, such as a fire, is it able to be rebuilt? Those are the things the community was looking for."
Mr Hosford's report said Maungaharuru-Tangitu agreed the hall and land should stay available for the local community "for as long as the local community desires".
It meant that the hapu would have a shared governance role in regard to the land but would not share co-governance of the hall unless invited to do so.
Cr Kerr said it was those terms she wanted to capture in the recommendations.
The council's chief executive Ross McLeod suggested an addition to the recommendations which included the words: "free public access remain in place as currently occurs and as long as the local community desires".
The council approved the amended recommendations which now go forward to the Office of Treaty Settlements to be used as part of a Deed of Settlement for Maungaharuru-Tangitu.