A Whangarei hapu's battle to stop water being extracted form Poroti Springs is over after the company behind the plan sold its land and water take consents to the Crown for $7.5 million.
Whatitiri Maori Reserve Trust which represents Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau and Te Mahurehure ki Whatitiri hapu, has been fighting for more than two decades to stop water being taken from Poroti Springs, about 20km west of Whangarei.
Zodiac Holdings has consent to take up to 1.5 million litres a day from the Poroti Springs, with the intention of bottling the water for sale overseas, something the hapu were worried would kill the sacred spring if allowed to happen.
Zodiac has sold its Poroti land and water take consents to the Crown to be used by the Office of Treaty Settlements to help settle any Treaty of Waitangi clams from the hapu.
Andrew Little said the Government has secured land that's been the focus of Ngapuhi concerns about the health and well-being of Poroti Springs.
"The Crown has purchased nearly four hectares of land near Poroti Springs which will be landbanked for a future Treaty settlement.
"The Crown property purchase includes a resource consent to extract water from the Whatitiri aquifer which feeds the Poroti Springs,'' Little said.
"The Crown has been negotiating for some time to acquire this piece of land because of the cultural significance of Poroti Springs to the local hapu and Ngapuhi.
"To secure ownership of the property the Crown entered a commercial negotiation and paid $7.5m. Ngapuhi is currently engaged in discussions around their Treaty of Waitangi negotiations.
"This purchase is about addressing the potential for this site to become an asset to the beneficiaries of a future settlement.
"Management of the land before settlement will be the responsibility of the Crown Property Centre of Expertise at Land Information New Zealand. I want to acknowledge the hapu who have endured years of frustration," he said.
In a 2015 statement from Zodiac to the Northern Advocate, at the request of Chris Finlayson, then Minister for Treaty Settlements, the company entered into formal discussions for the sale of Zodiac's land and resource consents package at Poroti to the Crown.
''Following an almost three-year long series of processes, a confidential settlement has finally been reached involving The Office of Treaty Settlements (OTS), Ministers, Cabinet and the Prime Minister's Office,'' Zodiac said.