30 Nov 2011

Hapu gifts offshore island to all New Zealanders

7:21 pm on 30 November 2011

The Department of Conservation is preparing to enter a co-management arrangement with a Northland hapu over one of the country's largest offshore island reserves.

The majority of Little Barrier Island is to be gifted to New Zealanders by Ngati Manuhiri, after the sub-tribe and the Government signed a Deed of Settlement.

The almost 3000 hectare reserve sits on the island about 80 kilometres northeast of Auckland.

It's home to endangered bird life and more than 400 native trees.

The subtribe's chief negotiator Mook Hohneck says his team did what it sought out to do.

He says one objective was to have the Crown acknowledge its ties to the land and secondly to have 1.2 hectares of the island given back to the hapu.

Mr Hohneck says it's keeping that small amount of land in the name of two of 14 ancestors who never sold their land rights to the Crown.

The treaty deal is due to be legislated by Government next year.