Ngāti Kahu want airport land returned to them in settlement claim

By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

An occupation has taken place at Kaitaia Airport to protest against a $100 million treaty settlement due to be ratified at Parliament tomorrow.

Over 100 people gathered asking to meet with Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson.

70 years have now passed and protesters claim the land has never been returned.

Tomorrow is the third reading of the Te Hiku Settlement Bill in Parliament. The settlement includes Ngāi Takoto, one of four iwi that land will be returned to.

Antony Housham says, “They want to give it to someone else.  If I stole your car and gave it to your neighbour would you be alright with that? I don't think so. So that's what we're basically doing.  We're taking back what belongs to us.”

Timoti Flavell says, “We want the Crown to acknowledge they were wrong in taking our ancestral land.”

The group claims Minister Chris Finlayson hasn't acknowledged Ngāti Kahu as mana whenua.

They're the only tribe in Te Hiku who are yet to settle their treaty claim and continue to challenge the Crown in the High Court.

Housham says, “He just giving any of our land to someone else because he doesn't like Ngāti Kahu because we won’t toe the line on what he wants done.”

Flavell says, “We want the management of this land returned to us.”

For now, the gates to the Kaitaia Airport are locked with the leaders of the protest calling for the land to be returned.