Te Waiariki iwi win bid to buy back ancestral land at Pātaua in Northland

There were celebrations for supporters of a land occupation at Pātaua in Northland today with mana whenua iwi Te Waiariki winning a bid to buy back a large block of their ancestral land.

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There was celebration from supporters of the land occupation. Source: 1 NEWS

The land was expected to sell to developers - with initial efforts by Māori to buy rejected.

Te Waiariki occupied the land for 20 days before receiving the news.

The block of nearly 60 hectares is prime coastal land near Whangārei. It borders another block of Māori owned land - a DOC campground and a tidal estuary.

"It’s a win to get back whenua, but I suppose the loss is that we’re having to buy back our own ancestral lands," Mark Scott of Te Waiariki says.

The land transferred from Māori whānau to private ownership in 1954 and this year the owner subdivided it in order to sell it.

Te Waiariki were turned down when it asked for first refusal and so the protest began.

Iwi have no grand plan for the land other than restoring it to its former self. That includes opening up a river that was stop banked by its first Pakeha owner.

They hope this battle will spark a change in law - making it easier for future generations who face the same predicament.