18 Sep 2012

Councils consider Sugar Loaf handover

7:23 am on 18 September 2012

Two Taranaki councils are considering whether to transfer ownership of the Nga Motu-Sugar Loaf Islands to Maori for Treaty settlements.

The New Plymouth District Council will discuss the ownership change of the protected islands off Paritutu Rock at a meeting on Tuesday.

The group of small islands are considered sacred places by Te Atiawa and Taranaki iwi.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christ Finlayson has asked the district council and the Taranaki Regional Council to consider handing over ownership of the islands to the iwi to be used as part of their Treaty settlement deals.

Under the proposal, the Department of Conservation will continue looking after the Sugar Loaf Islands marine protected area and the public's use of the area will not change.

Both iwi must also agree to each other's interests in the islands, which were historically fought over.