Tauranga City Council’s commissioner says today’s ceremony marking a new co-ownership deal for land in the CBD is symbolic for mana whenua.
It follows a signing this morning to mark the deed for a new co-ownership structure for land in the CBD.
The block on Willow Street will be governed by the council and the Otamataha Trust, which represents mana whenua from the area.
The CBD sits on 13,000 hectares of land which was once owned by iwi, but taken over by the Crown when the Church sold it on.
Tauranga City Council commissioner Shadrach Rolleston said the signing was a huge milestone for Māori in Tauranga.
“Especially from a relationship perspective, to restore integrity of the relationship that was set back in the 1830’s between the church and mana whenua and for Māori to reseal that commitment to one another, that the land will be held in a sacred arrangement, sacred trust, sacred relationship for the benefit of our community,” said Rolleston.
He said mana whenua were excited about today’s signing because it meant they would have a say over the land.
“Coming to the table, recognising their mana over this particular land, and acknowledging their disconnection from the site and reconnecting them back to this particular area. And acknowledging I suppose over a long period of time the mamae the severance from this particular land, and so we’re able to reconcile that today and in signing up to this agreement,” said Rolleston.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a new partnership with mana whenua for Tauranga’s new civic precinct was completely unique.
Speaking at the signing, Ardern said she was there to witness an incredibly important occasion.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz