Whatuiapiti Marae in Central Hawke's Bay is on the verge of receiving back their ancient urupā called Pukeiti from private farmland.
Whatuiapiti Marae trustee Erin Sandilands told Te Kāea, "It's probably more than 150 years old. I don't know how the marae lost the property but it belongs to our Pākehā neighbours down the road who own the farm. My grandparents, great grandparents and tīpuna are all buried there."
The urupā is thought to have been lost to the hapū somewhere in the 1950s and then it was acquired by a European farmer who has now agreed to gift it back.
"His name is Mr Newman and he has been in this area for as long as I can remember. He's quite elderly now so we need to get on and get this done before anything happens in case the next generation says no, so we're onto it now. Our job is to have it surveyed out and I've been to the Māori Land Court and as soon as we do that we're putting it back under the marae reservation and we will own it forever."
She says it has been a very smooth process so far getting to this point and is now just a matter of getting it over the finish line.