5 Nov 2010

Maori group intends to resume Taipa occupation

7:18 am on 5 November 2010

A Maori group that occupied a Far North council reserve at Taipa in October says it is moving back on the site.

The occupation by Ngati Kahu next to the Taipa Sailing Club building ended suddenly last Friday.

However, one of the leaders, John Popata, says the group always planned to return to reclaim ancestral land that neither the council nor the Crown have any rights to.

Mr Popata says the week off has given occupiers a chance to go around local marae to seek support from elders, and they have had a positive response.

The reoccupation will begin with a march through Kaitaia on Friday, followed by a hikoi of runners and vehicles to Taipa, he says.

The Far North District Council says the group's action is disappointing, and it is attempting to prevent the re-occupation.

Chief executive Dave Edmunds says the council is asking the Government to intercede with Ngati Kahu and, if that fails, it will take out a trespass order.

The sailing club's Commodore, Dean Lutze, says it has had to postpone a regatta and open day and a building project because of the occupation.

Mr Lutze says he hopes to the group will agree to set up camp in a way that allows the club to operate.

The owner of the Taipa Resort Hotel, Dale Symmott, says the occupation last month cost her dearly in lost business over Labour weekend and a hard line needs to be taken.

She says if the protestors re-occupy the area, she stands to lose her Christmas trade.