The people of Patuharakeke maintain that the Ruakākā Racecourse is yet another example of the Crown colluding to alienate Māori in this district from their lands.
The land is prime real estate taken by the Crown for the purpose of electricity.
But in 1991, Govt sold the 56ha piece of land to the Whangarei Racing Club for just $200,000.
Pru Kapua, Patuharakeke lawyer says, “They got the land knowing there was a memorial on the title that was to protect Māori interest in the land.”
The plan change has the backing of the Whangarei District Council, but only in recent weeks, Patuharakeke have had the opportunity to put their claim before the Waitangi Tribunal and question where they themselves will be able to develop if the remaining lands available in their homeland is given for others to develop.
Patuharakeke have no doubt it will be a long and expensive battle to see this matter through to the end.