24 Apr 2013

Iwi takes court action over Kaingaroa forest deal

6:41 pm on 24 April 2013

Talks aimed at resolving a long-running dispute over the division of a big forest have broken down.

Ngati Manawa says it has filed legal proceedings to force other tribes to go ahead with an agreement to share the Kaingaroa forest in the central North Island.

The forest was given back to eight iwi under the so-called Treelords Treaty settlement with the Crown in 2009.

Kathy Ertel, the lawyer for Ngati Manawa has confirmed that papers have been lodged at the Wellington High Court and is waiting for a hearing date to be announced.

An action group called Te Kokoti Moeroa a Tangiharuru, headed by Pem Bird, has been set up to represent the tribe taking the court action.

Mr Bird said the iwi has been forced to take action to get other tribes to comply with the process to divide the forest.

He said the motive to speed up the sharing of the Kaingaroa forest is not about the money - it's the mana - as it is part of Ngati Manawa's cultural DNA.

The Central North Island Forest Iwi Collective is made up of: Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Rangitihi, Ngati Whare, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Whakaue and Raukawa, and the affiliate Te Arawa iwi and hapu that make up Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa.