Dispute over Whakakoro mountain

By Heeni Brown
  • Northland

Hirikia Murray of Ngāti Hauā disagrees with a move by Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa to lease their tribal mountain Whakakoro in Whangapē and has requested a full investigation in to the matter. But Rūnanga Chair Haami Piripi says they are the current guardians and are responsible for any decisions regarding the mountain.

Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa have leased Whakakoro mountain but Hirikia Murray says there's been no consultation with Ngāti Haua.

"We want a full investigation into what's happened and how everything has planned out, there's a lease being done. We don't want to be told that our lease is already done. Haami or the Runanga we want to tell you guys how what we want done with our whenua."

Chairman Haami Piripi says the 2100 acre block has been leased to local Rob Murray of Ngāti Haua. According to Piripi, the six-year lease worth $30,000 a year is consistent with the market rate.

“There are so many people and families I consulted with elders to heads of the marae. The young man probably didn't know that but I did talk to those people.”

Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa purchased the Whakakoro block in 2015 and Piripi says they had been in negotiations with the previous owner for some time before buying it for several million dollars.

“I believe we've got the land back and are moving forward with Ngāti Haua for the best care of the land. First how to pay the rates so that the land is not put back into Pākehā hands. Secondly, I have achieved all of the above.”

Murray says, “My reaction to that is bullcrap we don't have to be told what to do with our whenua and who gets to choose who our whenua goes. We were there fighting part of the occupation for our whenua to come to us. We've done that and for someone to come in and take it off us for three or four years is not nice."