The government has purchased four hectares of land near Whangārei where the source of the Poroti Springs is located.

Water extraction for bottling purposes prompted iwi protests but now the block will be land banked for a possible treaty settlement.   

According to Taipari Munroe, the chair of Whatitiri Māori Reserve, it's been a long road for Te Uriroroi.

“He roa hoki ta mātou whawhai mō te wai, engari mō te aha ki te kamupene wai nei, ki a Zodiac, kua tata atu pea ki te 20 tau.”

In August last year, Zodiac Holdings Ltd applied for resource consent to bottle water that feeds into Poroti Springs for export purposes.

Now local Māori, including Meryl Carter, are happy to hear that the government has bought the land, extinguishing Zodiac Holdings Ltd's hope indefinitely.

“We do feel like we have finally been acknowledged as having mana whenua, mana wai and jurisdiction over our water.”

The Whangarei District Council sold the land to Zodiac Holdings Ltd for $40,000.

Now the government has bought it back for a cool $7.5 million, but the land won't just be given back to iwi.

Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little announced today that the land will be saved to be included in a future treaty settlement.

Munroe says that the Poroti Springs issue will set a precedent for future water issues, but they must stay vigilant.

“Me kī, ko Poroti hoki te tino take mō te wai māori i roto o Aotearoa nei nā reira mōku nei koia kē tēnā ko te take e pēnei ana te mahi a te Karauna.”

Before the land is settled, the land management will be the responsibility of the Crown Property Centre of Expertise at Land Information New Zealand.

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