Patuharakeke continue fight for lands

By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

Te Patuharakeke's fight for their ancestral lands has moved to another level following a meeting at Takahiwai this weekend. The issue is over confiscated land earmarked for return to them under the settlement of their treaty claims that's now for sale to overseas interests.

Just down the road from the 300 acre block being sold by Mighty River Power, Patuharakeke are meeting to discuss the options available to them to stop the sale.

According to Jared Pitman, “'It seems that's what the Crown is aiming to do. Not only to Patuharakeke but to all the respective tribes in the North.”

Patuharakeke have only just began presenting their treaty claims before the Waitangi Tribunal and now the remnants of their ancestral lands tagged for return to them are being sold.

Ani Pitman says, “It's a very sad time for us as we continue to seek the recognition of our rights to the Crown confiscations and injustices.”

Over 5000 acres of Poupouwhenua was confiscated by the Crown from the ancestors of Te Patuharakeke. Some of that land like the Ruakākā racecourse was tagged for return to the iwi, but was subsequently sold by the District Council for what was considered a very cheap price. Now only a small portion of land is available in this district that could be returned to the people.

The Government remain the major shareholder in the Mighty River Power company and under the current legislation they remain bound by their obligations to their treaty partners.

Jared Pitman says, “the retention of the land for our future generations is of utmost importance. What's important right now is that we all meet and work as one with the aim of keeping our land.”

Action by Patuharakeke to address the matter can be expected in due course.