Sigh, Maori want New Zealand’s latest publicly owned strip of sand given to them

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Awaroa Beach becomes part of the Abel Tasman National Park today after 40,000 Kiwis raised the money to buy it – but local Maori want the Government to hand it on to them.

At least 200 people are expected to turn up by boat and on foot at midday for the handover of the remote beach, which sits in the middle of Abel Tasman National Park.

The beach was privately owned by European families until it was bought for the nation with $2.3 million donated through a Givealittle campaign last summer.

Wakatu Incorporation chairman Paul Morgan, who will speak for local iwi at the handover, said the 7ha beach property should not have been taken from its original Maori owners.

“Our view hasn’t changed, the Government is in possession of land that actually belongs to Maori,” he said.

Wakatu, which is owned by the four local iwi, has been fighting a legal case since 2010, alleging the Government failed to honour a promise by the New Zealand Company to set aside of the land it bought from local Maori for the Maori people. The case reached the Supreme Court last October but the court has not yet issued a judgment.

Morgan said he would speak about the history today but there would be no protests.

“We don’t protest. We use the facts and the system,” he said.

Yes, the boys and girls at the Wakatu Corporation are smart and don’t do rain dances or Taniwha threats.

Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner, who will officially receive the land today, said agreements to settle all historical claims in the area were signed between the Crown and eight iwi between 2010 and 2013.

“At this point in time, Awaroa Beach was held in private ownership and therefore not available for use as part of a Treaty settlement.”

If there is one thing that continues to frustrate it is that “full and final settlement” means nothing.    Whenever Maori think they can get something for free, they will ignore the fact that they promised last time it was the “full and final” settlement.

Awaroa was privately owned, and so beyond any claim. But now that the public have bought it, Maori feel they can reopen the full and final agreement and come after it anyway.

 

– NZ Herhald


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