84-year-old Norma Whaanga of Te Māhia says the legislative review of the Ture Whenua Māori Land Act is long overdue, changes she said may have saved her 19 years of heartache in a bitter family feud over the land her family home is built on.
Norma Whaanga's has lived in her family home for more than 40-years but after her husband died, her right to stay on the land was challenged by the Whaanga Whanau Trust.
She's been described as a squatter by the trust, who served her with a trespass notice, she also faced thousands of dollars in overdue rent.
Mrs Whaanga says “I didn't really know what I was going to do, go to jail or pay the 100,000 so when I got all the support it gave me that support that I'm right I'm staying in my house”.
The long Māori Land Court process has worn her out, so her son has taken over the battle.
A legislation review announced by Associate Minister of Māori Affairs Chris Finlayson will look to streamline complexities and avoid long drawn out situations like this one.
Finalyson wants to unlock the economic benefits not being utilised in Māori land which could be worth $3 billion to the Māori economy, and he's hoping to introduce the new legislation early next year.