A step towards reconciling years of hardship will be made for Ngāti Manu today as they sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Far North Holdings in Opua.
The formal agreement will recognise a cultural and historical relationship between the hapū and the Far North District Council-owned company.
Ngāti Manu spokesman Arapeta Hamilton says, “It is significant for our hapū, this is the first time in history that Far North Holdings have acknowledged our assertion of mana whenua and mana moana status in Opua and Taumarere.”
The inlet in the Bay of Islands and its surrounding lands have been a point of dispute from as far back as the 1830s, when land was taken by the Church Missionary Society in a Crown land claim, and then later as the Kawakawa-Opua rail corridor was opened, and more recently under the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004.
Last year consent was granted for a $12 million extension of the marina at Opua, a development Ngāti Hine vehemently oppose as it would have an environmental and ecological impact.
Mr Hamilton, who protested against the construction of the Opua Marina in 1989 with Sir James Henare, says, “We are getting closer to building ongoing relationships of those occupying our area as well as progressing our claims forward for Ngāti Manu and the descendants of Pomare.”
The signing will take place at midday, at Karetu Marae.