Te Arawa Lakes Trust evicts its own whanau

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Anger is growing at moves by the Te Arawa Lakes Trust to evict more then 120 people, many of whom are of Te Arawa descent, in the small Bay of Plenty settlement, Little Waihi. A letter was sent via the Te Arawa Management Limited which has the responsibility to manage trust assets.

Te Arawa Lakes Trust has terminated leases held by these homeowners saying it is a result of leaking septic tank on the properties which are in turn causing serious environmental damage the the nearby estuary. However, this has caused confusion as the Western Bay of Plenty District council said it planned to build a modern sewerage system next year, leading many to believe that the septic tank argument is simply a smokescreen to allow the Trust to begin developing the area.

Rotorua lawyer, Annette Sykes, similarly questions the septic tank argument saying that whanau in the area have been drawing attention to the issues for a long time, saying;

The sewage outlet issues arise at Maketu and have been the subject of significant submissions by our Ngati Makino and Ngati Pikiao ki Maketu whanau.

The letter also says a “Licence to Occupy” was originally entered into with the home owners and the trust, and states the term of the licence was “at the will” of the licensor and the trust had the right to end the lease on land they owned in the area immediately.

But residents affected by the eviction have until April 30, 2011 to move from their homes.

They were informed that the licence also provided that all improvements, which included any residential buildings, were to be kept in a good condition and became the property of the trust at the end of the licence.

Most of the owners were beneficiaries and pensioners who claimed they had nowhere else to live.

A special meeting has been called over the weekend to discuss the future of the community and local resident Jack Elsworth says Te Arawa want the residents gone because their sewage system is causing damage to the nearby estuary. He says locals won’t be going without a fight. Mr Elsworth says Te Arawa called a special meeting in Rotorua. He says it was arranged by one board member who is not happy with the iwi’s decision.

Background

Te Arawa Lakes Trust set up by Te Arawa Management Limited to manage all assets the trust owns which include 14 lakes in the region and areas of land at Maketu and Little Waihi – which was returned to Te Arawa as part of their Deed of Settlement with the Crown in 2004.

1 COMMENT

  1. Given:
    All septic tanks within this Maintenance Zone are legally
    required to be updated with an approved wastewater
    system by 1 December 2013.

    I assume the reason for future eviction disappears when that happens. I see half the Little Waihi houses are already near connection.
    Good news when all connected – win-win for nature and for residents.

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