'To me, they stole it off my mother' — Ngātiwai occupy land they want returned

A land occupation is underway in Northland, protesting the way organisations have blocked access to Māori land.

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The roadway is meant to connect a private subdivision, but there are concerns about how the land was acquired. Source: Te Karere

By Bronson Perich

The original lands of Ngāi Tāhuhu, Te Waiariki and Ngāti Korora are now being occupied by their descendants. 

Kaumātua Hori Parata says he finds it difficult to acknowledge anyone else's claim to his people's lands.

"Bayley's have put part of this property next door up for sale and because they've collaborated with the Department of Conversation," Parata told Te Karere.

"I find it difficult for me to say that they own it. To me, they stole it off my mother."

The surrounding lands are being developed for housing and governmental purposes, and the Department of Conservation has acquired some of the land for a roadway to a private subdivision.

Parata says further developments must be postponed until his people have settled their treaty settlements with the Crown.

"I said to them that where you've got your carpark is the seabed between Taiharuru and Pataua, and until we have had our settlements with the Government, everything is on hold," he says.

"All we want is for all of this nonsense to stop."

Kelly Klink of Te Waiariki says that her people have been disconnected from their whenua. 

After previous efforts to rectify the issues failed, they decided to occupy.

"We've been willing to put in an offer to pay for the whenua," Klink says.

Now that the lands are on the open market, the occupiers have begun an information campaign to inform potential buyers of the issues at hand.

Parata said he hopes the invested parties will do "the right thing".

The occupation is well underway, informing prospective land buyers about the fact they may not have access to their new property.