Lake lease for renewal

Fifty-year iwi-Crown lease falls due in July.

Fifty-year iwi-Crown lease falls due in July.

Lake Waikaremoana. Picture by Chris McLennan

THE lease of Lake Waikaremoana’s lake bed and foreshore is up for renewal for the first time in 50 years.

The 50-year iwi-Crown lease falls due in July, with the Government holding a right of renewal.

It is believed preliminary discussions ahead of the lease negotiations have taken place between the stakeholders, including Wairoa Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board and Te Uru Taumatua - Ngai Tuhoe.

Discussions have included the Department of Conservation as administrators of the Crown lease.

The Lake Waikaremoana lakebed lease was not included in Tuhoe’s 2014 Treaty of Waitangi settlement, which included a historical account, an admission of government injustices and apology, the co-governance of Te Urewera lands, and financial, commercial and cultural redress of about $170 million.

The Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896 promised tribal control and ownership of remaining lands but it was never honoured.

Historically, the Government tried to gain ownership of the lake bed from Tuhoe and Ngati Kahungunu. Eventually the parties settled for a lease in perpetuity for 50 years under the Lake Waikaremoana Act 1971, with the lease retrospective to 1967.

In 1971, the Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board and Wairoa Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board became the co-owners.

At the time, the Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board administered about 70 percent of the lake revenue and the Wairoa Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board the remainder.

Treasury documents show an annual payment of $241,000 for the Waikaremoana lake bed lease.

The Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board was wound down in 2011/2012 and the assets transferred to Te Uru Taumatua-Ngai Tuhoe.

A competing Ngati Ruapani claim of lake bed ownership has been a long-standing issue, with the legal interpretation of the word “owners” as used in the Lake Waikaremoana Act 1971 debated at a Maori Land Court hearing in Wairoa on June 28 last year.

Meeting

In November 2011, the late Te Ariki Mei led a delegation of kaumatua and descendants of the original owners of the Lake Waikaremoana lake bed to meet with the then Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board in Ruatoki.

At the time, Te Ariki Mei said no one from the trust board had come to them to specifically talk about what was happening with regard to the lake bed lease.

Tuhoe and Ruapani wanted a consultation process initiated to determine the future of Lake Waikaremoana.

During 2011 there were ongoing talks between the Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board and the Tuhoe Establishment Trust, chaired by chief negotiator Tamati Kruger ahead of the Tuhoe settlement with the Crown.

The delegation of descendants of original owners believed the Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board’s role was to administer lease payments on behalf of those who signed the lease agreement with the Crown.

But it appeared over time they became beneficiaries with the rest of the Tuhoe population.

Descendants in 2011 were concerned about what would happen to the lake bed if the lease was transferred to Tuhoe.

Te Uru Taumatua chairman Tamati Kruger said two meetings had already been held with the Department of Conservation which made their statutory obligations and priority concerns clear.

“These included preservation of the natural features of the lake and public access.”

Mr Kruger said there was no disagreement about these priorities and both iwi appreciated the approach DoC was taking.

“Both Tuhoe and Kahungunu are keen to talk to each other and hope to meet iwi-to-iwi next month.

“Both iwi are comfortable about talking about the lake bed with each other and reaching a conclusion acceptable to each other.”

In respect to the Maori Land Court hearing last year in Wairoa, the court found there was no support for the claim there were other owners but further action could ensue.

THE lease of Lake Waikaremoana’s lake bed and foreshore is up for renewal for the first time in 50 years.

The 50-year iwi-Crown lease falls due in July, with the Government holding a right of renewal.

It is believed preliminary discussions ahead of the lease negotiations have taken place between the stakeholders, including Wairoa Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board and Te Uru Taumatua - Ngai Tuhoe.

Discussions have included the Department of Conservation as administrators of the Crown lease.

The Lake Waikaremoana lakebed lease was not included in Tuhoe’s 2014 Treaty of Waitangi settlement, which included a historical account, an admission of government injustices and apology, the co-governance of Te Urewera lands, and financial, commercial and cultural redress of about $170 million.

The Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896 promised tribal control and ownership of remaining lands but it was never honoured.

Historically, the Government tried to gain ownership of the lake bed from Tuhoe and Ngati Kahungunu. Eventually the parties settled for a lease in perpetuity for 50 years under the Lake Waikaremoana Act 1971, with the lease retrospective to 1967.

In 1971, the Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board and Wairoa Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board became the co-owners.

At the time, the Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board administered about 70 percent of the lake revenue and the Wairoa Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board the remainder.

Treasury documents show an annual payment of $241,000 for the Waikaremoana lake bed lease.

The Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board was wound down in 2011/2012 and the assets transferred to Te Uru Taumatua-Ngai Tuhoe.

A competing Ngati Ruapani claim of lake bed ownership has been a long-standing issue, with the legal interpretation of the word “owners” as used in the Lake Waikaremoana Act 1971 debated at a Maori Land Court hearing in Wairoa on June 28 last year.

Meeting

In November 2011, the late Te Ariki Mei led a delegation of kaumatua and descendants of the original owners of the Lake Waikaremoana lake bed to meet with the then Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board in Ruatoki.

At the time, Te Ariki Mei said no one from the trust board had come to them to specifically talk about what was happening with regard to the lake bed lease.

Tuhoe and Ruapani wanted a consultation process initiated to determine the future of Lake Waikaremoana.

During 2011 there were ongoing talks between the Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board and the Tuhoe Establishment Trust, chaired by chief negotiator Tamati Kruger ahead of the Tuhoe settlement with the Crown.

The delegation of descendants of original owners believed the Tuhoe Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board’s role was to administer lease payments on behalf of those who signed the lease agreement with the Crown.

But it appeared over time they became beneficiaries with the rest of the Tuhoe population.

Descendants in 2011 were concerned about what would happen to the lake bed if the lease was transferred to Tuhoe.

Te Uru Taumatua chairman Tamati Kruger said two meetings had already been held with the Department of Conservation which made their statutory obligations and priority concerns clear.

“These included preservation of the natural features of the lake and public access.”

Mr Kruger said there was no disagreement about these priorities and both iwi appreciated the approach DoC was taking.

“Both Tuhoe and Kahungunu are keen to talk to each other and hope to meet iwi-to-iwi next month.

“Both iwi are comfortable about talking about the lake bed with each other and reaching a conclusion acceptable to each other.”

In respect to the Maori Land Court hearing last year in Wairoa, the court found there was no support for the claim there were other owners but further action could ensue.

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