Iwi and marae at odds on Waiheke
Friday 1 Feb 2013 5:35 p.m.
A dispute is building on Auckland's Waiheke Island over a deal between iwi and a rich-list private landowner.
A local marae wants to be consulted, but the iwi says it should be able to develop its own land.
As members of the Ngati Paoa iwi arrived today, they had strong feelings about being on television.
They were on the island to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Spencer family, rich-listers worth hundreds of millions of dollars and the island's biggest landowners.
It could lead to joint ventures in areas like wineries and tourism, but details haven't been released. 3 News was invited to where the agreement was to be signed but then ordered to leave.
At the other end of Waiheke Island, the committee of Piritahi Marae say they've also been shut out.
“I don't believe that there should be negotiations going on in private. I think that it should be very transparent to the public because it's affecting many people,” says Paora te oti Takarangi.
They say important archaeological sites are at risk in Owhiti Bay where the Spencers want to build a house - a project still stuck in the Environment Court.
After initially refusing to comment, a spokesperson for Ngati Paoa agreed to talk, as long as there were no questions about Owhiti Bay.
“We own 10 percent of the land mass on Waiheke Island and there's got to be ways, we're looking at investigating ways that we can capitalise on that tourist potential with our immediate neighbours,” said Ngati Poa trustee Glen Tupuhi.
But those plans are unlikely to go ahead without more disputes.