Originally published by Māori Television
Māori rights and interest in the foreshore and seabed have been recognised in a judgment in the Whakatōhea high court case released on Friday.
"Hapū MACA [Marine and Coastal Area] applicants are ecstatic at the high court judgement released on Friday in relation to their seeking a customary marine title over the Takutai Moana boundary in Opotiki," said Te Ringahuia Hata, who gave evidence for both Ngāti Ira and Ngāti Patumoana.
Ngāti Ira, along with 12 other applicants, lodged their application in April 2017.
"We are absolutely stoked. Each of our MACA teams have been working tirelessly since 2017 to gather all our traditional evidence, commission technical researchers, draft so many affidavits and then attend the 10-week court case every day and it has all paid off. All our hapū have satisfied the relevant statutory tests for CMT [Customary Marine Title} under the MACA Act," Hata said in a statement.
Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said the party applauded the decision.
"We applaud the Whakatōhea High Court case that has now set a precedent for Māori rights and interest in their foreshore and seabed. It's an outstanding decision because the Court recognises all reclaimed lands with significant and boating traffic," Ngarewa-Packer said in a statement.
"This is a significant decision, particularly for Iwi who have suffered significant loss from muru whenua.
"The court has found that territorial local authorities providing resource consents to people to use foreshore and seabed doesn't extinguish Māori ownership and rights to the same foreshore and seabed subject of that resource consent," she said.
The party's other co-leader Rawiri Waititi added that, "All land upon which there is significant traffic by way of fishing and or boating has been found also to be within Māori rights to ownership."
The judgement can be found here.