Land open and available to the hapu and community
Ngati Whatua O Orakei Reserves Board
Chairperson: Sir Hugh
29 May 2003
Land open and available to the hapu and the wider community
The chairperson of the Ngati Whatua o Orakei Reserves Board, Sir Hugh Kawharu, says today’s signing of the management plan was important because of the unique relationship between Ngati Whatua as tangata whenua and the local authority, acting under delegated authority from the Crown.
Sir Hugh says “the plan details the management and conservation of one of the finest harbour-side parks in the country. It details the management and conservation of Treaty settlement land, land from which both the Crown and Maori have benefited.”
“The land is rich in history and rich in mana. It was set aside by the Maori Land Court in 1869 - a 700 acre block stretching from Mission Bay, around the coast and over the hill to the Orakei Basin. It was set aside expressly for Ngati Whatua as an inalienable estate.
“Sadly, many years later it was subdivided by the Maori Land Court so that it could be acquired by the Crown. The subdivision by the court should not have taken place and the Crown regrettably later sold into private ownership all but 150 acres.
“In time the 150 acres of land still in Crown title, including Takaparawhau Park and Okahu Domain, was returned to Ngati Whatua on the condition that the land be kept as an open space for the enjoyment of both the hapu and the public at large.
“Ngati Whatua accepted this condition and in so doing acknowledged the benefits of the land to both hapu and the people of Auckland.
“While the land is kept as an open space, it nevertheless requires maintenance and development, for example planting.
“The costs of such maintenance and development are met by the public and Ngati Whatua out of rates. For that reason the administration of the land is in the hands of the joint Auckland City and Ngati Whatua board, in equal measure.
“The land is open and available to the hapu, for they are its owners, as a result of the 1987 Waitangi Tribunal ruling.
“However, as a matter of mutual respect it is appropriate that Ngati Whatua should reciprocate and open the land for the enjoyment of the wider community.
“The mana of the land lies with the hapu and I am confident the people of Auckland will understand and respect that,“ says Sir Hugh.