17 May 2012

Kaumatua wins trespass damages from DoC

10:41 am on 17 May 2012

A Northland kaumatua has won damages from the Department of Conservation which did not do enough to stop people trespassing on his land.

The Maori Land Court has instructed DoC to award Gary Hooker $5000 for failing to warn walkers not to use a track on his Waipoua whenua.

He argued walkers were compelled to walk over his property at high tide without his consent.

In 2009 it was ruled DoC had not consulted with the land owner when the tramping track was set up and that the department was negligently contributing to the trespass.

Following that decision, Judge Harvey has acknowledged further proceedings to resolve the dispute were unacceptably delayed due to a change of case manager.

The court has awarded general damages for interference with Mr Hooker's privacy and quiet enjoyment of the land.

His claim for aggravated damages was rejected.