Writing great in court fight to stop highway

By James Ihaka

Author Patricia Grace has filed a court application to stop the taking of her ancestral land for part of the Kapiti Expressway. File photo / Mark Mitchell
Author Patricia Grace has filed a court application to stop the taking of her ancestral land for part of the Kapiti Expressway. File photo / Mark Mitchell

One of New Zealand's pre-eminent writers has filed a court application to stop the taking of her ancestral land for a national expressway.

Novelist Patricia Grace said Waikanae land inherited from her tupuna (ancestor) Wi Parata Te Kakakura, is to be taken by New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) under the Public Works Act for part of the Kapiti Expressway.

Mrs Grace and her whanau had made an application to the Maori Land Court to have the land made a Maori Reservation to prevent it being taken.

She said the Waitangi Tribunal had found the Act to be in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and land classified as a Maori Reservation was supposed to be inalienable.

A Maori Reservation would mean the land would be set aside for the benefit of the descendants of Wi Parata, would enhance kaitiakitanga and would preserve the whenua in the hands of the descendants.

"Why Maori land yet again, especially now that the Crown, the Waitangi Tribunal and Iwi are working so hard to put past mistakes behind us?" she asked in a written statement.

Mr Te Kakakura was a great benefactor who had given generously to public works and development in Waikanae, including land for the railway, Mrs Grace said.

She said the land in question was the only remaining piece of what were once vast whanau land holdings in Waikanae.

Mrs Grace and her family believe burials took place in the upper sand dunes, which is where the road will go through, and NZTA had no less than five other options for this section of the expressway.

"I take kaitiakitanga (guardianship) seriously," said Mrs Grace.

"Also, I do not have a mandate, from my "hildren, to dispose of this land. Nor do I have a mandate from any extended whanau, descendants of Te Kakakura, to sell it."

Mrs Grace will present evidence at the The Maori Land Court in February where she will be supported by three expert witnesses.

NZTA spokesman Anthony Frith said the land in question was part of the MacKays to Peka Peka route and a component of the Wellington Northern Corridor that runs from Wellington Airport to Levin.

The $630-million MacKays to Peka Peka route, which received resource consent earlier this year, consists of 18km of four-lane expressway through Paraparaumu and Waikanae.

NZTA says it will take about four years to complete and will improve safety, reduce congestion and provide more reliable journey times in and through Kapiti.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 21 Apr 2014 17:36:07 Processing Time: 31ms