5 Dec 2013

Tribal land claims mirror Middle East struggles - iwi

6:43 am on 5 December 2013

A central North Island tribe is comparing its Treaty claims to the land struggles of the Middle East.

Ngati Kauwhata has taken its historical claims to the Waitangi Tribunal, but fears it will lose ancestral land to other iwi conducting fast-track negotiations with the Crown.

The iwi wants to gain the right to the now closed Maungatautari School near Cambridge.

Claimant Steve Bray on Wednesday told the Maori Affairs Select Committee that territory settled by his tribal forefathers risks being taken away.

When you look overseas at places such as Palestine, Israel, and Croatia, he said, other people are making decisions on other people's lands, and that shouldn't be happening to Maori.

Mr Bray said when a tribe goes through its Treaty settlement process that kind of information is recorded for posterity.

He said he wouldn't like his future descendants to wonder why Ngati Kauwhata didn't fight for their rights.