10 Oct 2018

Protesters occupying school ordered to leave

6:01 pm on 10 October 2018

Protesters occupying a closed Catholic school have been ordered by a judge to pack up their things and leave in the next 48 hours.

Wharenui that local iwi Ngāti Paoa are living in.

Wharenui that local iwi Ngāti Paoa are living in. Photo: RNZ / Eden More

A group have been occupying Hato Petera College and a dormitory, in the Auckland suburb of Northcote, since mid-August after it was closed by the Government.

The protesters say the land was gifted to the Catholic Bishop of Auckland to educate Māori but the church has not upheld its end of the deal.

In his decision Justice Jagose ruled in favour of the church, saying as the registered owner of the land the defendants had no legal right to occupy.

He ordered the protesters to immediately vacate the land and within 48 hours remove any of their property.

The issue of land rights is yet to be decided.

The Auckland Catholic Diocese spokesperson Lyndsay Freer said the church was waiting to see what the protesters' next move would be.

She told RNZ the Church would use the property for educational purposes.

"We are not making any decisions at all, we are just going ahead with what we believe is the right thing to do and that is to honour the gift and honour the intent of the gift to use the property for the purposes of education," she said.

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