Tensions flared today following the release of a tenancy notice to the trustees of Tau Henare Marae and local residents which said the Renata family were the legal owners of the properties.
However, according to Māori Land Court records the marae site has been set aside as a Māori reservation for the purpose of a marae site for the people of Ngāpuhi.
Spokesperson for the Renata whanau, Lauren Blincoe, says, “We notified them through tenancy notices. We had orders under the Māori Land Court to release our lands immediately”
The properties include Tau Henare Marae, The Mormon church and Te Horo School
Members of the Renata family are threatening to change the locks of the marae and the name of the whare nui to Kaikou Marae.
But marae assistant chair Haami Tohu says the marae was gifted for the community that was built on the Tau Henare reservation and named in memory of the Ngāti Hine Leader.
Tohu says, “Pene Armstrong gifted this marae to us. This marae is named after my ancestor- it shouldn't be said this is my marae, it's ours.”
Lauren Blincoe, spokesperson for the Renata family says their research shows their whakapapa to this land is indisputable.
Blincoe says, “We have done is we've just succeeded to our grandfather's inheritance, so that's what we're claiming.”
Tohu says, “I've only just heard about the Renata family. I didn't even know what they looked like.”
The marae trustees have sent an invitation to the Renata whānau to attend a marae meeting to discuss the issue.