5 Mar 2013

Landmark Taranaki islands put aside for Maori

7:30 pm on 5 March 2013

The Taranaki Regional Council has agreed to hand over a group of small islands off the coast of New Plymouth for use in treat settlements.

The decision was made on Tuesday after the council received eight submissions - five in support and three opposed to the land transfer.

The Nga Motu or Sugar Loaf islands include five uninhabitable islands and several large rockstacks in a marine protected area near the Taranaki port.

The regional council is the owner of the outer islands and the New Plymouth District Council owns the inner ones.

Both councils have been consulting separately about transfering the ownership for the Crown to use in two Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Te Atiawa and Taranaki iwi, currently under negotiation.

The New Plymouth council has yet to make its decision.

Any hand-over will not change the islands' protected status and public access.