6 Nov 2010

Maori group reoccupies Far North council land

7:52 am on 6 November 2010

The Crown's chief treaty negotiator for the Far North, Pat Snedden, says a reoccupation of a council reserve near Kaitaia reflects a wider issue.

The Ngati Kahu group, which occupied the land last month, held a protest march through Kaitai on Friday before moving back onto the site. The land is used by the Taipa Sailing Club.

Ngati Kahu signed an agreement in principle with the Crown in January, and is currently working towards a deed of settlement with the other four tribes in the Far North.

Mr Snedden says that doesn't mean the agreement is universally popular.

He says Maori are saying there is not enough land available to give redress in the settlement process, and are putting pressure on private land, in this case council-owned land.

Mr Snedden says this issue has been addressed directly with Ngati Kahu negotiators at the time the agreement in principle was made.

Protest group wants to hear from minister

The Ngati Kahu group is refusing to leave the site until its issues are addressed by Treaty Negotiations Minister, Chris Finlayson.

The group's representative, John Popata, says about 40 people are at the site. Sleeping quarters are being built and the group has its own power and water.

Mr Popata says they will be writing to Mr Finlayson, who is overseas at present, to invite him to the site.

Mr Snedden says Mr Popata and his group are one of 14 or 15 hapu of Ngati Kahu.

Far North mayor Wayne Brown says the district council has told the police it is not happy with the situation.

He says the council wants the Government to get involved, because the group has a disagreement with Government policy.