17 Nov 2010

Far North occupation outrageous, says landowner

4:22 am on 17 November 2010

The owner of a Far North resort says it is outrageous that a Ngati Kahu group has once again been allowed to occupy land it does not own.

Protesters moved back on to Taipa Point on Tuesday and are setting up camp on private land, next to the council reserve they were evicted from last week.

Dale Synnot, who organised a community picnic on the reserve on Tuesday afternoon to keep the protesters away from the sailing club, says their behaviour is unacceptable.

And Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says the group, which wants to meet him to discuss its Treaty grievance, can, in his words, go to hell.

Mr Finlayson said: "They can go to hell because I am not going up there. I am not going to visit with people who are breaking the law."

The group is building a shelter on the land it is occupying and says it is moving in for the summer.

The group was evicted from the council-owned Taipa Sailing Club site last week and had staged other occupations there in the past.

The group returned on Tuesday afternoon after a march through Kaitaia to set up camp on privately owned land by the reserve.

Ngati Kahu spokesperson Wi Katana Popata says it is moving in for the summer and is in talks with the owner.

He says Ngati Kahu see the entire point as ancestral stolen by the Crown and are moving in for the summer. Ngati Kahu will not stop anyone from sailing or fishing.

He says Ngati Kahu have held discussions with the owner of the land they now occupy, but have not sought his consent to be there.

About 50 Taipa residents held a picnic at the sailing club on Tuesday with the aim of stopping Ngati Kahu reoccupying the reserve.

The residents say they have achieved that, but are unhappy at the prospect of an occupation next door.

The owner of the neighbouring Taipa Resort Hotel, Dale Synnott, says she is losing business, people have cancelled over Christmas and there is also staff wages to pay.

The owner of the occupied land, Todd Mayle, says he understands the group's argument, but it is protesting in the wrong way.

The land belonging to Mr Mayle is alongside the reserve.

Mr Mayle says it would be wrong for protesters to stop people using the nearby yacht club and boat ramp.

A spokesperson for the protesters says it will not block people's access to the water.

A sole police officer watched the protesters' actions on Tuesday afternoon.