Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Parcel of land likely to be returned to Māori at former gateway to Pink and White Terraces

On the western shores of Lake Tarawera, Tūhourangi Tribal Authority ancestors would welcome some of the Rotorua region's earliest tourists, taking them to Te Otukapuarangi - the Pink and White Terraces.

Lake Tarawera. Photo: Supplied / ThermalAir

Now, a small parcel of land near that departure spot is on track to be returned to their descendants.

Clapping, hugging and hongi met the unanimous decision at a Rotorua Lakes Council strategy, policy and finance committee on Thursday.

Tūhourangi Tribal Authority chairman Alan Skipwith said the decision, the first step in a long process, was "huge" for his rōpū (group).

"I can't help but be overwhelmed. All of that land belonged to us. We still see that as our mana whenua."

He said the possible return of the 355sq m land, under the Tarawera Landing Cafe, would "re-establish a footprint" in Tūhourangi's tribal lands.

The land was purchased by the Crown in 1895 from Māori owners and held under the Land Act 1892 under "internal communication purposes", according to a report to councillors on the topic.

In the meeting, council sport, recreation and environment manager Rob Pitkethley said continued public access to the area would still be guaranteed through the road and the rest of the reserve.

However, the land transfer process was "not simple".

As the land is a recreation reserve, its return will involve a statutory process under the Reserves Act and will be dependent on a decision by the Minister of Conservation. It will also require subdivision from the rest of the reserve.

In 1938, a road reserve was created at the spot, which was vested in the Rotorua County Council, and later the Rotorua Lakes Council.

An 1809sq m recreation reserve was completed in 2006, the management of which was jointly overseen by Tūhourangi and the council.

The two organisations signed the Tūhourangi Protocol in 2004 which sought to form a "basis of understanding … for the benefit of the peoples of Tūhourangi and of the District of Rotorua in general".

Tūhourangi Tribal Authority was set up in 2006 as a governance entity to receive assets and proceeds from Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa Trust, which negotiated Treaty of Waitangi claims for Te Arawa. It is comprised of 14 sub-tribes.

The cafe on the site had recently a change of lessee and the new operator was aware of the lease terms and discussions with Tūhourangi about the land. The lease was due for expiry in December 2023 with no further rights of renewal.

The council report said the possible transfer of the land would begin steps that had been discussed for more than a decade and strengthen the partnership with Tūhourangi.

Mayor Steve Chadwick said the decision was a "long time coming" and "much more than symbolic".

The next step in the process would be to advise the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage of the decision, then a preliminary investigation, which would begin with a land status report.

The decision would be subject to public consultation before a council decision can be made to lift the reserve designation and subdivision. It was also possible hearings would be required.

Once that happened, a Department of Conservation process would take place.

It was not yet clear how long the process would take.

In the meeting, Pitkethley said there was a "ballpark" cost for the changes.

"The other part of costs … are related to subdivision costs and the potential hearing costs. There's been a ballpark estimate of probably $30,000 for potentially each of those - depends if we need a hearing."

Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the Newspaper Publishers' Association and NZ On Air.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>

Gordon Campbell:On Kobemania, Palestine And The Infrastructure Package

Quick quiz to end the week. What deserves the more attention – the death of a US basketball legend, or the end of Palestinian hopes for an independent state? Both died this week, but only one was met with almost total indifference by the global community. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Double Standard That’s Bound To Dominate The Election

Are National really better political managers than Labour, particularly when it comes to running the economy? For many voters – and the business community in particular - their belief in National’s inherent competence is a simple act of faith. More>>

Gordon Campbell : On Dealing With Impeccable, Impeachable Lies

By now, the end game the Republican Senate majority has in mind in their setting of the rules for the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is pretty clear to everyone: first deny the Democrats the ability to call witnesses and offer evidence, and then derisively dismiss the charges for lack of evidence. For his part, does former security adviser John Bolton really, really want to testify against his former boss? If there was any competing faction within the Republican Party, there might be some point for Bolton in doing so – but there isn’t. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Dice Are Loaded Against Women..

If they enter public life, women can expect a type of intense (and contradictory) scrutiny that is rarely applied to their male counterparts... More>>