24 Dec 2013

Tribunal ruling disappoints Mangatu

7:43 am on 24 December 2013

The Mangatu Incorporation is disappointed by the Waitangi Tribunal's decision not to make binding recommendations for the return of Crown land in Gisborne.

In a report released on Monday, the tribunal dismissed applications for it to compel the Crown to return 3449 hectares of Mangatu Crown forest licensed land purchased from it in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1961.

The Mangatu Incorporation initiated the application and three other groups - Te Aitanga a Mahaki and Affiliates, Nga Ariki Kaiputahi and Te Whanau a Kai - then made similar claims for the return of parts of the Mangatu Crown forestry land.

The tribunal's report said those claims overlapped or competed with the incorporation's, and it could not make recommendations which would be fair to all groups. The tribunal said it could create fresh grievances by appearing to favour one group.

Mangatu Incorporation chairman Alan Haronga said he was disappointed with the decision, which lawyers would look into next year.

The tribunal had found the land was purchased by the Crown in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi, and it just wanted that land back, he said.

The tribunal urged the parties to mend their relationships, and negotiate further with the Crown.