29 Nov 2012

High Court dismisses Port Nicholson trust case

8:19 pm on 29 November 2012

The High Court has thrown out a case taken by a Maori trust which argued that the Crown had betrayed their agreement by offering land to a neighbouring iwi.

The court released its judgement on Thursday after a two-day hearing held about a fortnight earlier.

The Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, which represents a Taranaki tribal collective, argued that the Crown betrayed a 2009 settlement with the Trust by offering Ngati Toa land - to which Taranaki Whanui has rights - without consulting the Trust.

Ngati Toa initialled a $75 million Waitangi Treaty settlement agreement with the Crown four months ago, which included $50 million in cash payments and the chance to buy several properties in the Wellington area.

The High Court judgement says that in the Taranaki collective deed Taranaki-Whanui included an assertion of mana over lands in the Port Nicholson Block, which includes central Wellington.

This judgement says that's a strong statement of connection but it does not show exclusive rights over land.