The Chair of Northland's Ngati Kahu iwi says a High Court ruling in Whangarei means it's no longer good enough for district councils to ignore iwi demands for sacred burial sites to be protected.
Professor Margaret Mutu says, for over a decade, the iwi fought plans by Carrington Farms for a housing development near an ancestral burial cave on Karikari peninsular north east of Kaitaia.
She says the fight intensified in 2007 when the Far North District Council granted consent for the company to build 12 houses above the cave, after signing an agreement six years earlier to protect it.
Professor Mutu says Justice White has now ruled the agreement is legally binding, and he quashed consents issued by the Far North District District Council to Carrington Farms.
She says the ruling sets a precedent and should act as a warning to other district councils not to ignore iwi concerns about wahi tapu sites.