22 Feb 2011

Diplomatic solution sought to waka standoff

6:50 am on 22 February 2011

The Wellington City Council says it is trying to avoid legal action to secure the return of a waka to the city's waterfront.

Waiwhetu Maori in Hutt Valley are refusing to release the council-commissioned waka, Te Raukura, until it's satisfied there are safeguards on its care and use.

The waka is to be the centrepiece of a wharewaka, or canoe house, that opened on Waitangi Day.

The council wrote to runanga leaders setting a deadline of last Friday for the waka's return, but that has passed.

Council spokesperson Richard McLean says it will look at the option of legal action this week but negotiations are going on behind the scenes and the council would prefer to find a diplomatic solution.