Top Of South Land Claims Hearing In August
Blenheim, June 7 - Top of the South iwi land claims will begin to be heard by the Waitangi Tribunal in August.
The tribunal will sit in Blenheim for the hearings, which are expected to continue well into next year.
Almost all of the research for the claims has been finished and submitted to the tribunal and is expected to be approved by tribunal member and chief historian Keith Sorrenson.
Blenheim-based iwi Ngati Rarua will be the first to have its claim heard and it was hoped at least another two iwi would be heard by the end of the year.
The eight Top of the South iwi, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama, Ngati Toa, Te Atiawa, Ngati Koata, Ngati Kuia, Ngati Apa, and Rangitane had lodged grievance claims with the tribunal as far back as 1987.
The iwi claim the Crown failed to recognise each iwi's customary rights of its land, forestry and fisheries before the Treaty of Waitangi was established in 1840, and then failed to uphold the treaty's principles.
The claims involve parts of the Marlborough Sounds, Whakatu (Nelson) within the Nelson Tenths to Farewell Spit, the land surrounding Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa, Wairau and Kawatiri to Kahura
Some of the land claims were located away from the top of the South area, including land in Port Nicholson (Wellington), Porirua, Manawatu and the Wairarapa.