The Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust and five other Tūwharetoa entities have purchased of 8,500 hectares of Crown land in the central North Island.
Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust Chairman Dylan Tahau, says the purchase is a major milestone for Ngāti Tuwharetoa.
A huge milestone for Tūwharetoa but it has cost them $20 million.
Paranapa Otimi says, “The reason, the land is being returned, this land being returned by the Crown who stole it long ago.”
The purchase includes 4,000 hectares of timber plantations and land which encompasses the Tongariro/Rangipō Corrections Facility.
Tahau says, “No matter who is buying it, the lands of Hautū, of Rangipō are being returned to Ngāti Tūwharetoa to the original people.”
A Ngāti Tūwharetoa partnership between the Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust (TST) and two forest trusts and three farm trusts banded together to exercise their right to buy back the land.
Tahau says, “The main thing is that we are correcting the wrongs done by working together. Tūwharetoa has come together, the six companies, eight sub tribes have stood together to tell the Crown to return these lands, and the main thing is that the past, hurt has lifted.”
It has taken 12 months to negotiate this deal and now makes Tūwharetoa one of the largest landowners in the Taupō area.