24 Feb 2014

Tribes want to buy part of airbase

8:32 am on 24 February 2014

A tribal collective has confirmed it wants to buy part of a military airfield in Marlborough.

Waihaere Mason of Ngati Kuia.

Waihaere Mason of Ngati Kuia. Photo: RNZ

Under their Treaty settlements, three iwi can purchase blocks at Woodbourne Airbase in Blenheim, possibly under a sale and leaseback agreement.

The offer has been made to Ngati Apa, Ngati Kuia, and Rangitane o Wairau.

Ngati Kuia chair Waihaere Mason says they want whenua at the airfield because it is an iconic site.

He says the collective has been in negotiations with the Ministry of Defence for some time and its intent has always been to buy some of the land.

Iwi rights to Woodbourne Airbase are being disputed by a farming family who lost their land to the Crown when the Public Works Act was used to build the military base.