21 May 2014

Battle trust eyes bowling club land

6:31 am on 21 May 2014

A member of the trust, which organised the 150th Gate Pa/ Pukehinahina Commemorations in Tauranga wants to expand the battle site reserve - over land used by a bowling club.

To mark the anniversary at the end of April, eight Maori carved totem poles and two carved tree stumps had been unveiled.

Pukehinahina Charitable Trust member Peri Kohu said it wanted Tauranga City Council-owned land back.

It's used by the Gate Pa Bowling Club on Cameron Road.

He said it could go into an agreement with council as a treaty partner. Mr Kohu said he hoped it could forge a relationship with council, which would allow them to close down the club.

An elder, Peri Kohu said the trust could even pay for the land.

He hoped the site could be given back to his Ngai Tamarawaho people within his lifetime, but he doubted it would happen any time soon.

Mr Kohu said it planned to hold talks with the council about how it could obtain the land. He said another way in which to do that would be to wait until the club's lease expired.

The Gate Pa Bowling Club declined to comment, apart from saying the club has been there for 60 years.

In a statement, Tauranga City Council said any such request would need to take into account reserve management plans, existing leases and public interest.

It said it's unaware of any formal approach regarding alternative uses for land opposite the Gate Pa Reserve.