First freehold land purchased under Waitara Lands Act
New Zealand history in the making: first freehold land purchased under historic Waitara Lands Act
Waitara retiree Heather Tett made history on Wednesday (21 August) without even stepping out her door. After waiting more than 50 years, Mrs Tett was the first Waitara leaseholder to sign a sale and purchase agreement to buy her property off NPDC under the Waitara Lands Act and on Wednesday she took possession. Mrs Tett has lived in the home for 36 years and has been a Waitara leaseholder since 1966.
“We’ve been waiting a very long time for this,” said Mrs Tett. “Being able to buy our land will be really good for Waitara. Hopefully more people will get on the property ladder and buy their land too.”
New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom says it’s an exciting time for Waitara.
“NPDC congratulates Mrs Tett and we wish her many happy years in her freehold home. After 30 years of working towards a solution to a highly complicated situation, the historic Waitara Lands Act is now making a difference. We look forward to continuing working with leasees, hapū and the wider community to make sure the Act delivers positive change for the town, the river catchment and the people of Waitara,” says Mayor Holdom.
The Act took effect in March, paving the way for leaseholders to buy their land on about 770 Waitara properties and unlocking up to $90 million to be invested back into the town. The proceeds from the land sales are being divided into three funds for the benefit of Waitara:
• A ring-fenced Hapū Land Fund to help the Manukorihi and Otaraua hapū buy land.
• The Waitara Perpetual Community Fund to help support community projects in Waitara.
• A fund to support the Waitara River and other environmental projects.
As of Wednesday, NPDC had received applications to freehold on almost 400 properties. Five of these had been sold and about 70 others had either accepted the purchase price or had signed sale and purchase agreements, involving properties worth almost $8.4 million in total.