Te Rarawa battles against land claim

By Mike Barrington

Te Rarawa is seeking urgent Waitangi Tribunal action to prevent a "land grab" of its properties by its Ngati Kahu neighbours.

Te Rarawa Runanga chairman Haami Piripi has applied for binding tribunal orders returning six resumable properties to his tribe and placing them outside the Ngati Kahu remedies claim which the tribunal began hearing at Awanui last week.

Mr Piripi's application follows a tribunal rejection of Te Rarawa evidence filed a day late for the Ngati Kahu remedies hearing; tribunal classification of Te Rarawa as as merely an "interested party" to that hearing; and lack of Legal Services Agency funding for Te Rarawa participation in legal proceedings which have arisen in the past year.

Making Te Rarawa an "interested party" to the Ngati Kahu hearing meant Mr Puriri was refused admission to the hearing at the Kareponia Marae and spent last week sitting outside the marae.

He claims Te Rarawa suffered significant prejudice as a result of the Ngati Kahu remedies hearing and as a result of their participation and classification as an interested party.

"The manuwhenua evidence presented by Ngati Kahu has appeared to me to be a wholesale attempt at a land grab in our rohe," Mr Puriri said.

Te Rarawa is to sign a ratified deed of settlement with the Crown on October 28.

The properties for which the tribe seeks resumption include a portion of Sweetwater Station, part of Takahue Forest, and the former MetService building in Okahu Rd, Kaitaia, all of which had been offered to Te Rarawa.

Resumption orders are also sought for commercial offices in Melba St, Kaitaia.

- Northern Advocate

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