23 May 2009

Former rifle range site being returned to river iwi

7:36 am on 23 May 2009

A former rifle range beside the lower Whanganui river is to be given back to the river iwi. It is the first land in the area to be returned.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson is due on Putiki marae at 9am on Saturday to hand over the 35 hectare block to Te Poho a Matapihi Trust, which represents hapu interests at the mouth of the river.

Marae chairman Hone Tamehana says even though the Waitangi Tribunal is still hearing the river claims, the Government was able to use a special remedies process to return the land, which was taken a century ago under the Public Works Act.

Waatea News reports the iwi is still developing plans for the low-lying land.