16 Jul 2008

Incorporation settles land claim

6:09 am on 16 July 2008

A Maori incorporation that farms 41,000 hectares between Mount Ruapehu and the Whanganui River has settled a century-old land claim.

The Government paid $23.5 million to the Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation in compensation for past policies that denied owners use of their land.

Incorporation chairman Dana Blackburn says it has spent millions of dollars buying back leases over the past three decades.

He says the problem stemmed from changes made by the Crown soon after the land was put under the Aotea Maori Land Council for development in 1902.

He says the incorporation can now invest in its land and stock, rather than seeing profits eaten up in interest payments.