A rahui will be placed over Lake Waikaremoana next week, as descendants of the area's original owners fight a Maori Land Court decision made 16 years ago.
Yesterday Ngati Ruapani Kaumatua announced they would place a rahui over Lake Waikaremoana, banning all activities on the lake and access across all adjacent Maori land, from Saturday June 25, to the morning of Wednesday, June 29.
Kaumatua Kaunihera for Waikaremoana chair Tumanako Waiwai said this step was to protect people and property during a particularly tumultuous political and socially disruptive time for Ngati Ruapani, Ngai Tuhoe and Kahungunu descendants of the original owners.
It was also hoped the rahui would bring attention to three Section 45 applications being heard in the Wairoa Maori Land Court on June 28, lodged by applicants representing all descendants of the original owners.
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One applicant, Vernon Winitana, said with the upheaval the Ngati Ruapani, Tuhoe and Kahungunu had experienced regarding the lake over the years, they "were still troubled waters".
The rahui was an opportunity to promote a short period of focus on their application, which was to address what applicants believed was an error made by the Maori Land Court in 2000, when the title of the lake bed was transferred to two trust boards. Mr Winitana said that had not been the intention.
At the upcoming hearing, he said applicants sought to "rectify this error and quash the decision made in 2000", which was "almost tantamount to the foreshore and seabed debacle".
Next Saturday, a "Pou Rahui" will be placed overlooking Lake Waikaremoana to signal the start of the ban and karakia will be recited when the rahui is lifted.
Mr Waiwai said, "we seek full cooperation and support from all members of the public during this time and will work closely with all stakeholders in the region to ensure minimum disruption."
An invitation was extended to all Ruapani, Tuhoe and Kahungunu to attend the Wairoa Maori Land Court on June 28, to show their concern.