Patricia Grace objects to land taken by Public Works Act
9 December 2013
Ancestral land taken by Public Works Act: Patricia Grace and whānau object
Māori land in Waikanae, inherited by Patricia Grace from tupuna Wi Parata Te Kakakura, is to be taken by New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) under the Public Works Act for the Kāpiti Expressway.
Patricia Grace and her whānau have made an application to the Māori Land Court to have the land made a Māori Reservation and so prevent the Crown from taking the land. Grace asks, “Why take more Māori land? Why Māori land yet again, especially now that the Crown, the Waitangi Tribunal and Iwi are working so hard to put past mistakes behind us? There shouldn’t be any further alienation of Māori land, particularly of sites of historic and cultural importance.”
The Public Works Act has been found, by the Waitangi Tribunal, to be in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi. Land classified as a Māori Reservation is supposed to be inalienable. A Māori Reservation would mean the land would be set aside for the benefit of the descendants of Wi Parata, would enhance kaitiakitanga and would preserve the whenua in the hands of the descendants.
Wiremu Parata Te Kakakura was a great benefactor who gave generously to public works and development in Waikanae, including land for the railway. The land in question is the only remaining piece of what were vast holdings in Waikanae. The original wharenui was built there. The village was known as Tuku Rakau. The land is wāhi tapu. Patricia and her family believe that burials took place in the upper sand dunes, which is where the road will go through. NZTA had no less than five other options for this section of the expressway.
Grace notes, “I take kaitiakitanga seriously. Also, I do not have a mandate, from my children, to dispose of this land. Nor do I have a mandate from any extended whanau, descendants of Te Kakakura, to sell it.”
The Māori Land Court hearing is scheduled for February 2014. Patricia will present evidence based on whakapapa, history and culture. She will be supported by three expert witnesses: Susan Thorpe (archaeologist), Ben Ngaia (cultural and historical perspective), Bruce Stirling (historian). It is worth noting that the roading project has already begun, even though these matters have yet to be settled.
Grace says, “I have heard the proposed Expressway referred to as a road of ‘national significance’. Well, my land is of national significance. Let it remain so.”