Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta doesn't support Māori group's Sydney land claim

The Māori Development Minister's criticism of a group of Māori in Australia laying claim to a section of land hasn't gone down well with one member of the group.

In May, Lady Crown, on behalf of "Ngati Rangihou Corrangie Hapu", filed papers in Australia's Federal Court against the Parramatta City Council. 

They claim that 112 acres Parramatta, Sydney land was gifted to Te Ruki Kawiti by Aboriginal people in 1811, witnessed by missionary Samuel Marden.

The group was back in court this week, with Lady Crown telling local media that they wanted acknowledgement and recognition.

"We want the history books corrected and compensation for damages of the land," she said.

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who was in Australia this week, has come out against the group's court action, telling National Indigenous Television (NITV) she doesn't support it.

"My advice is that when you're away from your own Indigenous lands, you must respect the people of the land who come from that land," she said.

"Any rights that you have should be taken back to New Zealand…. the rights that they can absolutely assert are in their own country."

But those comments haven't gone down well with Lady Crown, who, writing as "Crown Turikatuku" on Facebook, called Mahuta a "clown" and "corporate mouthpiece".

"A nobody trying to have her say on Rangihou when she has no say at all," she wrote.

The land Lady Crown and her group claim now makes up parts of Parramatta's James Ruse Reserve, Robin Thomas Reserve, and the Rangihou Reserve, according to 9News. It also includes part of the Parramatta River.

However, 9News reports the City of Parramatta Council said in a statement that it disputes the claim and has applied to have the matter dismissed.

The city's heritage centre says a number of grants to the land were purchased by Marsden throughout the late 1700s and early 1800s. 

The Rangihou Reserve - named after Rangihou Bay in the Bay of Islands - was "central to Māori activity in Australia in the early 1800s" due to Marsden setting up a school and farm on the land used by Māori visitors.

"Our burial sites, sacred sites, sacred landmarks, and connection to land have led this Originee and Mauri family group to bring the Parramatta City Council to the Federal Court with an application to wind up the Parramatta City Council and reclaim the land," a statement from the group said on Wednesday.

According to 9News, a ruling on the matter is expected in the coming weeks.