Tourists will now have to pay to visit Hamurana Springs, but its Ngāti Rangiwewehi owners say there will be no charge for the general public.
Thousands of people have visited this place over the years and now it has been given back to local Māori to manage.
Te Oha Hancock says, “This is no longer Pākehā land, it's ours. We need to look after it, just like the land and water looks after us.”
Last year, the Crown returned Hamurana Springs to Ngāti Rangiwewehi.
The site of an iwi stronghold, the historically significant site was managed by the Department of Conservation. But with its return, local Māori have decided to charge tour buses.
Hancock says, “The money is not for us, but the maintenance of the land.”
Hancock is working here before she heads back to Waikato University. She believes this would be a great economic venture for her tribe and can also see the benefits of renting out cabins.
Anaru Bidois says, “The area that concerns our youth for this place is that they are able to come here to Kaikaitāhuna to fish. They can also look at ventures here, and also the environment.”
Ngāti Rangiwewehi say public access will continue to be free but tour buses should expect to pay $10.00 per head.