Wakatū Inc. seeks response from the Crown in land case
After success in the Supreme Court in February 2017, Wakatū Incorporation, a Nelson-based Māori-owned organisation, says the Crown is taking too long to enter into genuine discussions to resolve its case.
The Supreme Court case, which was taken by kaumātua and Wakatū board member Rore Stafford, and Wakatū Incorporation on behalf of its owners, the families of Wakatū, dates back to the settlement of Nelson in the mid-1840s.
At that time, the Nelson settlement was established by the New Zealand Company and the Crown on the condition that the Nelson Tenths’ Reserves Trust would be created for the benefit of the Māori land owners, and all papakāinga, cultivation and wāhi tapu lands in Nelson and Tasman would be protected from settlement.
Significant areas of land in Nelson and Tasman were never reserved by the Crown or were removed from the Nelson Tenths’ Reserves Estate between 1845 and 1977.
The Supreme Court held that the Crown owed a duty to reserve and protect 15,100 acres of land for the Māori land owners as well as their papakāinga, cultivation and wāhi tapu lands. The Crown acknowledged before the Supreme Court that it had failed to reserve 10,000 acres of that land.
Court directed the matter back to the High Court to
determine issues of breach and remedy. ‘Our preference is
to agree an out of court settlement, rather than engage in
more litigation. We want to sit down with the
Attorney-General and agree the principles and parameters to
ensure a positive resolution - it’s been over two years
now since we received the Supreme Court’s decision,’
Johnston, Wakatū CEO.
kaumātua who is leading the case, Rore Stafford says, ‘I
see it as a simple kaupapa, just give our land back.’