The Kapiti Coast District Council has finally resolved a Maori land claim in Otaki – and ended a 75-year-old injustice.
The Maori land covers 882 square metres on the east boundary of the railway line, along the line of County Road. It has been used without payment as a public road by the former County and then the KCDC since 1936
The KCDC has now reached a ‘lease-to- occupy’ with the descendants of the original Maori landowners – and has made a payment for past use of the land.
Maori Trust says settlement is good
A representative of the Maori Trust, Ra Higgott, says it is good that the matter had finally been settled in a manner that ‘recognises the issues and provides a reasonable level of compensation for the past encroachment, as well as a return going forward.’
The encroachment by Council and its predecessors on 882 square metres of land on the eastern boundary of the railway lines along the line of County Road started in 1936.
The KCDC says the the encroachment was not limited to the public road — as critical water and wastewater infrastructure also pass under the land.
Research suggested that the state highway was constructed along the line of County Road in Ōtaki around 1887, but it was diverted to its present alignment in 1936.
The Maori land then became the local road known as County Road – and water and wastewater services were installed in the early 1980’s.
Descendants alerted top encroachment in 2000
The descendants of the original land owners, represented by Piripi Raua ko Matiaha Arahiora Whanau Trust, became aware of the encroachment in 2000.
Talks between them and Council continued since then to resolve issues about the long-standing use of the land as a public road; and its future use as an important local roading connection.
Now, the Council has agreed (at a recent meeting) to lease and settlement terms.
The annual lease fee, based on a registered valuation of the 882 sq metre land parcel, will be $4200 a year with an initial term of 20 years and two rights of renewal each for a further 15 years.
A settlement amount of $89,000 has been agreed as ‘full and final settlement for all previous historical use of the land.’
Ōtaki Community Board Chair Don Moselen says:”The Board, Council and the community will be pleased that this long standing matter has finally been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.”