15 Feb 2011

Crown appeals against Matapouri judgement

11:20 am on 15 February 2011

The Crown is appealing against a High Court judgement that criticised the Chief Surveyor, in a case over disputed land at Matapouri beach in Northland.

Justice Heath found that the Chief Surveyor erred in law when he approved a 1999 survey done for the Ringer family.

The survey confirmed that a boundary between the Ringer land and a Department of Conservation reserve, was a stream bed.

Matapouri residents and Maori took the case to court, claiming the boundary should have been further south to include wahi tapu.

The judge made no ruling on the boundary, but granted an application by the hapu for a review of the Ringers' survey.

He said the Chief Surveyor failed to apply the proper standard of proof when he approved it.

Land Information New Zealand denies that: it says the judge has disregarded the survey evidence and denied the Chief Surveyor his statutory right to make an expert decision.

The Crown bought the disputed hectare of land from the Ringer family last year for $3 million, after popular pressure to have it placed in Otito Reserve.