14 Apr 2014

Maori land decision appealed

8:03 am on 14 April 2014

The Transport Agency is appealing against a Maori Land Court decision giving special protection to ancestral land earmarked for a major highway north of Wellington.

Patricia Grace.

Patricia Grace. Photo: RNZ / Leigh McLachlan

The agency is challenging a ruling to make author Patricia Grace's land a Maori Reservation, which stops it from being taken by the Crown for the Kapiti Expressway.

It follows a judgement by the Environment Court that the Crown cannot take the land.

Ms Grace says while she would naturally want it to end, it's not over yet and she will keep going and do the best she can.

She says she's had so much support from friends, family and strangers, which has eased the stress.

The Crown has less than two-weeks to decide whether to appeal against the Environment Court decision.

'Instrument of destruction'

The Green Party is calling the Public Works Act an instrument of destruction. The party says it continues to reject the notion that Treaty settlements are full and final because the Crown continues to use the Act to take land.

Spokesperson on Te Tiriti (The Treaty) Catherine Delahunty says the law is used consistently against Maori.

She says there are many examples, including the legislation being applied to take whenua from Patricia Grace.

Ms Delahunty also notes the Public Works Act has been used three times to take land from the Bay of Plenty tribe Tapuika, which has divided a tribal urupa (burial ground) into two.

She says the Act is one of the continuing tools of colonisation, and that no law should be able to breach the Treaty of Waitangi.