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Whakatohea Hapū Win Customary Marine Title In High Court

Hapū MACA applicants are ecstatic at the high court judgement released on Friday in relation to their seeking a customary marine title over the Takutai Moana boundary in Opotiki.

“We are absolutely stoked. Each of our MACA teams have been working tirelessly since 2017 to gather all our traditional evidence, commission technical researchers, draft so many affidavits and then attend the 10-week court case every day and it has all paid off. All our hapū have satisfied the relevant statutory tests for CMT under the MACA Act” says Te Ringahuia Hata, who gave evidence for both Ngāti Ira and Ngāti Patumoana.

Te Rua Rakuraku, Pou Tikanga and applicant for Ngāti Ira says “I can’t thank our legal team enough for the last 4 years of legal submissions, untold maps and strategically bringing us all together to take on this mammoth case. Our Tikanga argument was brilliantly argued by Te Riaki Amoamo for all of Whakatōhea and I also want to thank our Pūkenga who were pivotal in providing their expert advice and Report as well”.

Mrs Rakuraku-Rosieur says “I am so proud of my hapū for taking the applications to High Court independent of any other entity including the Trust Board which also lodged an application on behalf of all hapū. Ngati Ira represented our own interests and hapū rangatiratanga has won on the day”.

“The hard work to draft Orders starts now until the next stage of our hearing set down for 14 February 2022, but we have come so far on our own, there’s no stopping hapū tidal wave of change now” says Ms Hata

Ngāti Ira, along with 12 other applicants lodged their application in April 2017 and there are currently 202 active marine and coastal recognition applications. Churchman J notes in his judgement that :

“Many of the issues that arise have not previously been addressed by the Courts. Therefore, this decision has implications for some 200 other such claims currently before this Court.”

The judgement can be found on the Courts of NZ website here.

Ngati Ira MACA team.

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