5 Nov 2012

Busby wins right to build waka centre

8:32 pm on 5 November 2012

Celebrated waka builder Hec Busby has won Maori Land Court support to subdivide his own land in the Far North.

He has faced opposition from some of his whanaunga (relatives) to his plans to build a whare wananga, or canoe building teaching centre at Tokerau Beach.

In 2008, Mr Busby applied to the court to use 2.5 hectares of his whenua to create a Maori reserve for the centre - an application that was supported by the chair of the local marae.

But there was opposition from four people on a number of grounds. These included a suggestion that the area was an urupa or cemetery - a claim which proved to be false.

Mr Busby was so taken aback by the resistance, he considered withdrawing his plans.

The court says there's clearly a division within the local tribe, Ngati Tara, over whether or not to support the plan - which he says stems from some people's attitudes to Mr Busby's ownership of the land.

Judge David Ambler has now released his reserved judgement, ruling there are no valid objections to the plans.

But Mr Busby has to tell the court who the beneficiaries of the reserve should be before the case is closed.