Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta says she doesn't support a Māori group's claim to Aboriginal land, telling them to "respect the people of the land".

A legal battle in Sydney, Australia, is under way as Ngāti Rangihou Kanguru hapū claims valuable land was given to them by Aboriginal people 200 years ago.

Leader Lady Crown said that in the early 1800s aboriginal leaders entrusted their Māori king to 112 acres in Parramatta, which is now Sydney's biggest CBD, according to 9 News.

The City of Parramatta Council is disputing the claims.

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Mahuta, who is in Australia to exchange knowledge about indigenous development, told local media she did not support the group's claim.

"My advice is that when you're away from your own indigenous lands, you must respect the people of the land who come from that land," she told Australia's National Indigenous Television News.

"Any rights that you have, should be taken back to New Zealand … the rights that they can absolutely assert are in their own country."

The disputed area is an Eastern section of central Parramatta, taking in parklands and reserves, Rangihou Reserve, Robin Thomas Reserve and James Ruse Reserve, and part of a river.

The disputed area is an Eastern section of cental Parramatta, taking in parklands and reserves along with part of a river. Photo / 9 News
The disputed area is an Eastern section of cental Parramatta, taking in parklands and reserves along with part of a river. Photo / 9 News

Rangihou leader Lady Crown told 9 News they wanted acknowledgement and recognition.

"We want the history books corrected and compensation for damages of the land.

"We have the first laws in time, so our laws stand above any other law in the land."

The Darug people are the traditional owners of the land in question. A spokesperson told NITV News they were not aware of the case until media reports began circulating earlier this week.

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In a statement, the City of Parramatta Council said it "disputes the claims being made and have applied to have the matter dismissed".

According to the City of Parramatta Council's research, the Rangihou Reserve in Parramatta was central to Māori activity in Australia in the early 1800s.

This was mainly because of the support and encouragement of English-born priest Samuel Marsden, who purchased land close to Parramatta on the south side of the river and set up a school and farm to be used by his Māori visitors.

The site, that he called Newlands, was in the area surrounding the Rangihou Reserve, originally the territory of the Burramattagal clan of the Darug people.

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the group laying claim to Aboriginal land need to
Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the group laying claim to Aboriginal land need to "respect the people of the land". Photo / File

A decision would be made within weeks.

In March, the Māori group attempted to forcibly seize Rangihou by changing the locks on the Waratah soccer club and charging for parking in their own setup.

The group was evicted four days later.

In New Zealand, Māori protesters have been trying to stop Fletcher Building's housing development on Ihumātao, Auckland, by occupying the land.

The disputed block of land in Māngere has become a flashpoint for Māori land rights around the country.

This week, hundreds of protesters marched to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's electorate office in Auckland to invite her to Ihumātao.

She has since said she would be making a visit, after reports a deal could be reached for iwi Waikato-Tainui to purchase the land.