A multi-million dollar piece of land has been returned to a New Plymouth hapu, which describes it as a significant occasion and a chance to build better relations with the occupants
The Methodist Church's Grey Trust Institute signed over the Rangiatea Complex on South Road in New Plymouth on Tuesday to Ngati Te Whiti.
The handover was made 150 years after the land was sold to the church.
Once the Rangiatea Hostel for girls, it continues to be used as an education hub with a kura kaupapa, a kohanga reo, a Maori tertiary education provider and a dental health clinic on the site.
The Bayly Road Trust will administer the land on behalf of the sub-tribe.
Chair Shaun Keenan says the hapu is looking at a seamless transition of owners.
He says Ngati Te Whiti wants to develop better links with the occupants, who promote education and the wellbeing of Maori.
Mr Keenan says the Grey Institute Trust is very supportive of the sub-tribe and they're pleased the Trust recognises them as tangata whenua.