Today marks the date set for the eviction of the Tahere whānau from their ancestral land at Rangihamama after the Omapere-Rangihamama Trust won its case before the Appellate Court.
This morning the family were busy clearing their possessions before the arrival of the court bailiff.
Evictee Toko Tahere says, "This is the date determined by the court for our eviction from the land. But the court bailiff has advised they are unable to carry it out today so perhaps the almighty has had a hand in today's proceedings."
There was support on hand from locals surprised at the action being carried out against the Tahere family.
Whānau support person Te Aroha McIntyre says, "I've come to support my relatives of the Tahere family. They were raised on this land and it's their land so I'm very emotional at the fact they're being evicted by the Omapere Rangihamama Trust. Where will they go? Look at all the grandchildren, this land belonged to their ancestors. You can see for yourself we're not poor. There is plenty of lands on which they grow food and harvest from the river. There are no issues amongst us but now this is a major injustice.
Thirty years have passed since Toko Tahere moved home with his family to live on the land of their forefathers currently under the management of the Omapere Rangihamama Trust. Their intention to have the family removed from the land has been in process for a number of years with the court only recently passing an order naming over 60 members of the family to be evicted on this day.
McIntyre says, "The land should be returned to the rightful owners. They can represent themselves with regard to the benefits to come from this resource. The land must be returned to them."
Tahere says, "The issue of rights to this land should not be left for a court to determine but taken to the marae for the hapu and the iwi and respective families to address."
The court bailiff has subsequently advised that they will now serve the notice of eviction tomorrow.