Stall in land return not good enough – kaumātua

A decision to return land
on Matakana Island in Tauranga to local hapu is at a stand-still. But as Hania Douglas reports, a local kaumatua says
that position isn’t good enough and the issue needs to be
put back on the table. This Matakana Island elder
has spoken once more. We’re in a tussle with the council
the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, to return our land. We believe that if it’s not being
used for the reason it was taken, it should be returned. The land in question
are the Panepane and Purakau land blocks, around 200ha, at the south end of Matakana Island,
taken in 1923 under the Public Works Act
for the purpose of building beacons. Enoka Rolleston says
the issue needs settling. That’s why we chose hapu reps,
and they did well. They were patient and understanding
in dealing with the council, but it fell on deaf ears, and they’re over it, we’re all over it, because they (the council)
are not listening to us. In an email statement
to Te Karere today, the council said that back in 2015, the council agreed to initiate transfer
back to the hapu, provided that they could work
with iwi, an offer that hapu rejected. The council also said that due to competing priorities, the issue has yet to be settled, but it is by no means over. Rolleston says the people
are restless, but hopefully that perhaps
the newly elected council will move the issue forward. It’s frustrating because
we’ve been patient, we even waited for the election
of the new council, and maybe that’ll get us somewhere. The council says
they will be fine-tuning a legal approach
before moving forward. Hania Douglas, Te Karere.

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