3 Apr 2012

Hauturu land deal row rolls on

6:38 am on 3 April 2012

Ngati Wai spokesman Hori Parata says there's a continuing row over the inclusion of Hauturu - Little Barrier Island - in a settlement package for the southern hapu Ngati Manuhiri.

A special hui at the weekend was strongly opposed to the deal, in which Ngati Manuhiri will own the island for a week - then give it back to the Crown, keeping one hectare for a marae.

Mr Parata says the Ngati Wai board - led by the Ngati Manuhiri chair, Lally Haddon - has made it clear it does not have to follow the feeling of the hui.

Some iwi members have said the fate of Hauturu should be left until the wider Ngati Wai grievances are heard, with the Ngapuhi land claims, later this year.

Meanwhile Mr Haddon - a veteran Ngati Manuhiri leader and land campaigner - has stepped down as Ngati Wai Trust Board Chairman after twenty years in the job.

He says at 73 - he's getting on a bit - and his term as chairman was coming to an end, next month.

Ngati Manuhiri were the last kaitiaki of Hauturu and the veteran land rights campaigner says his hapu has a right to cut a deal with the crown over the island, as the Ngati Wai Trust Board supported its Hauturu claim.

But he says there's nothing to stop other Ngati Wai people lodging claims over it as well, when their claims are heard later this year.

Mr Haddon says the land that Ngati Manuhiri has chosen to keep on Little Barrier is a beautiful block, sweeping down to the sea - and his vision for it is a Ngati Wai marae, for all descendants of the original inhabitants.

Ngati Wai divided their coastal rohe into three areas, for the purpose of researching their treaty claims, and claims from the other two central and northern Ngati Wai hapu will be heard this year as part of the Ngapuhi land claims.