A Northland iwi has won a court case against Carrington Farms and Far North District Council over a plan by the company to build houses on top of a burial cave.
Ngati Kahu has fought to protect Te Ana o Taite on Karikari peninsular north east of Kaitaia, for more than a decade.
In 2001, Carrington Farms and the Far North District Council signed an agreement with Ngati Kahu and the Environmental Protection Society, over housing development on the peninsular.
Runanga chairperson Margaret Mutu, says there no work was to done within 800 metres of the high water mark, which includes the ancestral burial cave.
However, six years later, the council gave Carrington Farms consent to build 12 houses on top of the cave.
Professor Mutu says the ensuing fight against the development has been financially and mentally taxing.
But two rulings in the High Court at Whangarei by Justice White vindicate the iwi's view that sacred sites of Maori should be protected.