25 May 2009

Land returned to Whanganui Maori

11:03 am on 25 May 2009

Whanganui Maori have received the first fruit of their land claim process.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson on Saturday handed back a 35 hectare block beside the river to Te Poho a Matapihi Trust, which represents hapu interests in the lower reaches.

The history of the block was raised at the first Waitangi Tribunal hearing in the region.

Tribunal Judge Carrie Wainwright suggested the Crown act immediately rather than waiting for the rest of the claims to be heard and reported on.

Trustee Hone Tamehana told Waatea News the land was taken a century ago under the Public Works Act, and it was used until recently as a rifle range.

He says there is work to do on the land which may have some soil contamination and is in need of a bit of "tender loving care", but the trust is pleased to have the land back.