Maori claim a special connection to land. It is one of the things they most want, after great wads and dollops of cash in their settlements under the treaty of Waitangi.
So what do you call it when they then flog off that land to foreigners?
A Northland hapu has sold a swathe of beachfront Northland land to a multi-millionaire Los Angeles fund manager who plans to build a championship golf course on the area.
Te Uri o Hau has sold 230 hectares of their 616 hectare forest at Te Arai beach, near Mangawhai, to American financier and golf enthusiast Ric Kayne.
Kayne, the founder and CEO of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, an $18 billion alternative asset manager, has commissioned renowned golf course architect Tom Doak to design the championship links-style course.
Kayne said Doak, the designer of the internationally rated Cape Kidnappers course in Hawke’s Bay, aimed to create a similar-level course at Mangawhai.
Doak was known as a “minimalist” designer who used the natural lay of the land and none of the course would be visible from the beach.
Te Uri o Hau received the forest as an asset in its 2002 Treaty of Waitangi settlement. The deal was signed off by the Overseas Investment Office who imposed a number of conditions including replanting of the area with native trees and establishment of a trust for protection for nesting shorebirds.
The land is currently a commercial pine plantation but trees have already been felled to make way for the course.
The land was given tot hem in settlement and now they have flogged it off. They know it is going to cause grief too:
Anticipating a backlash, Te Uri o Hau released a set of questions and answers including “why is Te Uri o Hau selling its land to a wealthy foreigner?”.
The hapu said it offered the land sale to the Department of Conservation and the Auckland Regional Council, who both declined it.
Personally I don’t have a problem with anyone selling their assets to whomever. But I do have a problem when one of the reasons given for receiving land in settlement is some supposed natural affinity to the land…which lasts only as long as it takes to find a wealthy offshore buyer. Either you have an affinity for the land and wish to protect it for generations to come or you are a just like anyone else..can’t have it both ways.