The High Court has ruled against Waikato-Tainui in a stoush with Housing New Zealand over the sale of a property in Hamilton.
The corporation had mistakenly agreed to sell the same house to two different purchasers, the iwi and the South East Kirikiriroa Community Association.
Housing New Zealand wrongly believed that under the Waikato Raupatu Claims Settlement Act it was required to offer the house to Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui, but the iwi had waived its right to purchase.
The corporation then entered into an agreement with the community association only to then re-offer it to the iwi which elected this time to buy.
However, on realising its mistake, Housing New Zealand told Waikato-Tainui the re-offer was off and it would sell to the South East Kirikiriroa Community Association.
In a written reserved decision, Justice Moore ruled that he was satisfied that the first agreement remained in place and that the association had a valid contract to purchase and its interest in the property is stronger than Waikato-Tainui.
Justice Moore said because Housing New Zealand is in breach of its contract with Waikato-Tainui, the iwi is entitled to damages.
Any decision on damages has been reserved pending written submissions to the Court.
The South East Kirikiriroa Community Association use the property as a community house.
The property has a market value of $345,000.