Kiingi Tuuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero VII has given his royal blessing to the resolution of a land dispute at Ihumaatao.
The Crown has agreed to purchase the land from Fletcher Building in a transaction that’s outside the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process.
“A deal has finally been struck and Kiingitanga gives its blessing to that deal,” Kiingitanga spokesman Rahui Papa says.
“After more than 160 years of alienation from Ihumaatao, the descendants of the original owners will be reconnected with their whenua.”
Mr Papa says Kiingitanga’s intervention brought a tikanga-based approach to the discussions and gave the parties the time to develop a “by Maaori for Maaori” solution.
Kiingi Tuuheitia visited lhumaatao on Saturday 3rd August 2019 and offered to facilitate discussions between mana whenua that resulted in a consensus that they wanted their land returned.
Mr Papa says there would be a range of views on Ihumaatao, but the most important thing was a peaceful and lawful agreement by willing parties that would see an historical grievance put to rights.
Kiingi Tuuheitia thanked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her leadership in negotiating a positive outcome.
The Crown will now hold the land on trust while a Kiingitanga-led process is undertaken to decide the Ahi Kaa status of parties who claim a connection to the whenua.
Those parties will consult with whaanau and tribal members on the future of the whenua, which may be used for housing, heritage, and conservation purposes.
Meanwhile, Auckland Council will play a role in the care and maintenance of the land.