7 Jun 2013

Protest camp over forestry row

6:04 am on 7 June 2013

A Ngati Manawa action group has set up a camp in Kaingaroa Forest in Bay of Plenty as it continues a protest over the failure by eight iwi to share forestry blocks among themselves.

The noho (occupation) is on a strip of land running alongside State Highway 38 near Kaingaroa village.

The eight tribes have failed to reach an agreement to divide the land between them according to mana whenua (territorial rights).

Action group Te Kokoti Moeroa a Tangiharuru says some iwi want to divide the forestry blocks in equal shares, not by mana whenua.

Ngati Manawa says it will never agree to commercial division of the land, saying its burial grounds and papakainga (Maori plots) are not up for grabs.

The group says the collective of eight iwi has failed to honour the crucial mana whenua section of the Central North Island Act, which they signed when the Crown returned the forestry blocks to iwi.