By Te Kāea
After almost half a century Ngāti Rangiwewehi can now celebrate the return of Pekehaua Springs, more commonly known as Taniwha Springs.
Last night, a unanimous vote from the Rotorua Lakes Council was reached for the ownership to be transferred from the council to the iwi.
In 1966, the springs were taken under the Public Works Act for public water supply purposes and vested in the Rotorua County Council at the time.
Ngāti Rangiwewehi has always mourned the loss of their taonga saying the taking was morally wrong.
In 2012, Ngāti Rangiwewehi Settlement couldn't get the land back under current council jurisdiction.
But now a new agreement between the iwi and council puts Ngāti Rangiwewehi at the negotiating table.
Mayor of Rotorua, Steve Chadwick says, " It's how we work now to get [sic], are we going to find another space for water, or are we going to use the puna and that's a decision for Rangiwewehi. But we start into a new phase now of negotiating for access to water."