Iwi fears stolen land will go to foreigners

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A Bay of Plenty iwi is distraught that the Crown has opened the door for foreigners to buy land it stole from the iwi and despite the iwi making an offer to buy the land at the commercial price.

mita ririnuiIf this land continues to go under the hammer, well be out-bided by someone, most likely a foreigner, who has more money than us locals can compete with and thatll be a very sad day because we would have lost yet another beautiful and precious piece of our iwi and nations heritage, said Mita Ririnui, chairman of Te Runanga o Ngati Whakahemo.

With much good faith the iwi has been trying to convince the Government agency Landcorp, which holds the title to the land that borders other land the iwi owns, as well as the Finance Minister and Treaty Negotiations Minister to stop the open market sale and accept their offer to buy the land at a price aligned to the Governments state owned assets regime, said Mr Ririnui.

Landcorp has refused our offer and told us to take our chances by getting in line with everyone else, but we shouldnt have to, not when the Government stole this land from us, the blood and spirit of our ancestors is embedded in it and we have a plan for it that would generate more economic development in the area.

The Government has missed a golden opportunity and our iwi now has no other option but to resort to both legal and direct action. And were confident well win because there are a number of legal precedents.

In the coming weeks, the iwi will file for an urgent hearing in the Waitangi Tribunal and then possibly the High Court to stop the sale until the iwis claim [Wai 1471] over the land, near Pukehina beach, has been dealt with.

For further comment, please contact Mita Ririnui 021 541727

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