16 Apr 2012

Mangatu Blocks takes another crack at claim

8:00 pm on 16 April 2012

A Maori authority's 20-year legal fight for the return of ancestral whenua is entering its final round.

Mangatu Blocks Incorporation, in Gisborne, has been told the Waitangi Tribunal will urgently hear its case on June 18.

It will decide whether or not 8626 acres of land should be given back to the Maori authority - after the erosion-prone whenua was bought by the Crown in 1961.

The Waitangi Tribunal first heard the claim in 2004 and found the sale was forced - breaching Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

But it failed to recommend what should happen to the land.

The chairperson of Mangatu Blocks Incorporation, Alan Haronga, says this time the Tribunal must come up with a solution and make a binding decision - so the Crown has no say in the matter.

He says the outcome is either win or lose - and the incorporation's giving it its best shot.

Mr Haronga says the Waitangi Tribunal will hear the urgent land claim in Gisborne.