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Ministry decision to return Maori land

16 February 2005

Greens support Education Ministry decision to return Maori land

Green Maori Affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei has congratulated the Ministry of Education for its decision to offer back to its original Maori owners the land of Orauta School near Moerewa, Northland.

"The Public Works Act has been responsible for a vast amount of state acquisition of Maori land and every opportunity should be taken to return it back to the original Maori owners where the public purpose has expired," Mrs Turei said.

"All Ministry of Education land, where it was taken under Public Works Act, should ultimately be offered back to its original Maori owners."

The Orauta School is being kept open by its Trustees despite the Ministry's attempt to close it as part of the 2003/4 network reviews.

Mrs Turei said that if the land was returned, she would urge the Ministry to live up to its word that it would undertake further consultation about how best to provide Maori immersion education in the area.

"Clearly, there is a need for a kura kaupapa in the area. If this is what the Maori community wants, the Ministry should do whatever it takes to support that initiative. Maori parents are committed to the best educational outcomes for their children and should be encouraged when they are clearly seeking Te Reo and tikanga-based education for their children."


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