The Maori Land Court has rightly granted reservation status on the last piece of Wiremu Parata’s land (now owned by his great, great granddaughter, novelist Patricia Grace (DCNZM, QSO).
Most people would agree that the rich history of the land as well as the importance of Wi Parata’s place in New Zealand history means that this is a good decision.
Indeed, NZTA do not have an issue with the reservation status, nor the description of the land as ‘Waahi Tapu’ (sacred).
Maori Land Court ruling — and implications
The Maori Land Court ruling means that the land is ‘inalienable’ and so not able to be taken by anyone, including the Crown.
This is the bit that NZTA (NZ Transport Agency) struggles with and it is the reason that Ms Grace was again in front of a judge on March 31 at the Environment Court, to uphold the Kaitiakitanga (protection) of her land.
Like the rest of us, NZTA agree that this land is so important and so precious that it should be left for future generations to enjoy.
However, Ms Grace was again fighting for her case in the Environment Court because NZTA still want to bulldoze over the piece of the reservation land that they require for the Expressway.
In the usual quibble over semantics in legal proceedings such as this, the term ‘inalienable’ has to be clearly defined.
‘Crown cannot acquire land’ which is gazetted
Ms Grace’s lawyer explained that the term refers to “every form of disposition of Maori land,” including that affectded the Public Works Act, and means that “once a Maori reservation has been recommended and gazetted, the Crown cannot acquire the land”.
Seems fairly straightforward to me, and I hope Ms Grace’s land is not compulsorily acquired for the Expressway, like the land of so many other Kapiti Coast people who have been dispossessed.
However, if NZTA does not take the land, it turns out that they have another plan altogether which could involve squashing the Expressway between Ms Graces’s land and another sacred site, the Urupa (cemetery), with possibly 30-40 metre high retaining walls.
The already poorly-designed Expressway just gets worse and worse – one has to ask where the extra 10 to 15 million dollars will come from? Are we sure we still have a cycle lane (the road’s only redeeming feature) along the entire length of the Expressway?
Other Expressway shocks
In other news: Kauri, Greenaway and Puriri road residents have just found out that they will have 30-40 trucks per day travelling along their quiet streets as fill is moved into the Expressway site.
This was never agreed to under conditions during the Board of Inquiry and does not have resource consent.
Other infractions committed by NZTA include a hotline that frequently goes unanswered, bulldozers parked in front of driveways and blocked roadways.
Let’s not forget the sad NZTA Alliance Expressway Tent at the Kapiti Sustainable Home and Garden Show….
Has anyone ever heard of a sustainable motorway?