A South Taranaki tribe says its purchase of a former school property is the first piece land it has bought since its land was confiscated by the Crown in the 1800s.
Nga Rauru Kii Tahi has purchased the former Waverley High School site for an undisclosed amount and it is still working through the finer details with the Crown which has given the iwi first right of refusal after the land became vacant.
The school closed in 2007 and all of the classrooms which were badly vandalised have been pulled down.
The tribe's chairperson, Te Pahunga Martin Davis, said the iwi was still in the process of securing the property, of about 13 acres, and saw it as a significant investment for the tribe's future.
He said after the muru raupatu or Maori land confiscations in the 19th century all tribes in Taranaki were left landless.
Mr Davis said there would be a two year consultation period with the iwi and the local community about what the property will be used for.
He envisaged a mixture of social and commercial use, and the tribe was happy to work with its descendants and the people of Waverley.
Mr David said the Nga Rauru Kii Tahi plans to refurbish the teacher's residence on the property to use as an office and hope to have that part of the project completed in March next year.