Tribunal Gives Green Light to Grounds Claim
Tribunal Gives Green Light to Waitangi Grounds Claim
In a shock development, the Waitangi Tribunal has given the go-ahead for a Northland hapu - Te Matarahurahu - to proceed with a claim for the Treaty grounds at Waitangi (Wai 1466).
Hapu spokesman, David Rankin, is delighted with the news "This is recognition that our Hapu are the rightful owners of the land".
However, the claim is bound to cause controversy. Not only is the historic Treaty House under threat (Mr. Rankin has previously said it might have to be relocated) but it is also a claim on private land.
"This is the start of a new phase in Treaty claims", says Mr. Rankin. "And we imagine that in the near future, the Waitangi National Trust will be given their marching orders. The land is ours and we will use it how we see fit".
Mr. Rankin has said on one occasion that his hapu is considering various commercial uses for the land. "It might be a national treasure for some people, but it is our land. Those people can find a treasure elsewhere as the Treaty grounds will soon be out of bounds".