Topic: Iwi Settlements

Historic signing to transfer ownership of Te Puia to Te Arawa iwi

By Mānia Clarke
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Te Arawa subtribes Wahiao Tūhourangi and Ngāti Whakaue are celebrating the historic signing of an investing agreement with the Crown that will see the ownership of Rotorua's Te Puia Māori Arts and Craft Institute transferred to them.

Te Puia will be returned to the people of Wahiao Tūhourangi and Ngāti Whakaue.

Rangitarahae Kereama of Wahiao says, "I lament because we will receive our treasures we've longed for and worked to get back in a spirit of humility and the teachings of our people."

Hei tā Bryce Murray o Ngāti Whakaue, "We're absolutely ecstatic. So happy to have this business return to our people and our relatives. We also remember those who've worked tirelessly over the decades for this day. So, we're glad and also sad that they're not here."

Te Puia NZMACI was established under an amendment act in 1967. 

The land the $40 million business operates on was returned to the tribes in 2009.

"We've been given the opportunity to help our descendants with work. From this, we will have a place at the management board and forge a new way forward," says Murray.

Wahiao Tūhourangi's Whakarewarewa Thermal village and guide business has been operating beside Te Puia for 135 years.

A gate was erected in 1990s over cultural proceeds.

Hall says they hope to have the gate taken down before Christmas.