13 Mar 2014

Writer in court trying to save her land

3:24 pm on 13 March 2014

The writer Patricia Grace has told the Maori Land Court that no more Maori land should be alienated by the Crown.

Ms Grace appeared before Chief Judge Wilson Isaac at Whakarongotai Marae in Waikanae on Thursday over the taking of her land under the Public Works Act for a major road project, the Kapiti expressway.

She is asking for the land to be made a Maori reservation, which would make it inalienable by the Crown.

Ms Grace said Maori land shouldn't be taken in times when the court, the Waitangi Tribunal, the Crown and iwi are working hard to right the wrongs of past land confiscations. It's ironic, she said, that the Crown is negotiating historic grievances with local iwi Ngati Toa while more Maori land is being taken.

Historian Bruce Stirling told the court that the land has significant cultural and historical value, and was part of a Maori settlement that led to the development of Waikanae.

A tribal authority, Takamore Trust, said it was originally settled by a prominent Maori leader, Wi Parata, who gifted large sections of land to Waikanae.

It says there's a chance human remains and other archaeological items could be found in the area if it was dug up.

Ms Grace says it is a waahi tapu where people lived and were buried and is too significant to be dug up for a road.

She is also awaiting a hearing in the Environment Court.