20 Nov 2012

MPs look over Ngati Whatua o Kaipara deal

10:34 pm on 20 November 2012

Politicians have been asking questions about the treaty claims settlement bill for Ngati Whatua o Kaipara.

Maori Affairs select committee members gathered at Te Aroha Pa marae at Araparera near Kaukapakapa in north-west Auckland - overlooking the Kaipara Harbour.

Some MPs were curious about the future of Parakai Reserve - which is home to hot springs, mineral pools and a campsite.

As part of a cultural redress package, the reserve will be jointly governed and managed by Ngati Whatua o Kaipara and Auckland Council.

Hapu tumuaki (chief executive) Jason Fox says MPs wanted to know how tribal members would benefit from the reserve.

The sub-tribe responded by saying that under the Reserves Act, any profits made have to be spent on the reserve.

The hapu signed its deed of settlement a year ago - and the legislative changes covering it has had the first of three readings in Parliament.

Ngati Whatua o Kaipara trustee Haahi Walker says his people are looking forward to owning productive land once again.

He says they entered negotiations with the Crown when they had no land - and now they're in line to own some whenua.

Mr Walker says the hapu members will soon be able to plant kumara and grow other food for future generations - something they can't do without land.