The Ngāti Kuri Trust Board today announced the purchase of the 311 hectare Waimarama Orchards in a move described by Trust chairman Harry Burkhardt as the first in a series of steps planned by the Trust to rebuild the iwi’s economic future.
Previously called Clearwater Orchards, it was purchased by the Board from the receivers Mcdonald Vague. Located in the Ngataki area of the Far North it includes approximately 60 hectares of avocados and orchard infrastructure.
This is the first land far north iwi Ngati Kuri has owned after many years of being subjected to Crown policies complicit in alienating the iwi from its land, said Mr Burkhardt. The orchards are located in Muriwhenua South Block, some 35,162 hectares, which was alienated from Maori in 1858. The Waitangi Tribunal in the Muriwhenua Land Report of 1997 stated that not only was the land area to be transferred misrepresented, but the Crown failed to carry out its duty of care over the transfer of the land, or its pre emptive obligations under Article 2 of the Treaty of Waitangi, and failed to appropriately extingush ownership rights.
Mr Burkhardt added that the acquisition of the orchards, completed earlier this year, will result in over half of its product being exported. This acquisition was not a part of the current Ngati Kuri Treaty settlement process with the Crown, which has been a major focus for the Trust Board this year.
“By definition, local iwi investing in a local business will have significant flow on benefits for the wider Far North Community,” he said. “We intend to use this acquisition as a stepping stone in providing income and opportunities for Ngati Kuri’s people. The Board will continue to explore opportunities that make financial sense and align with our cultural imperatives.”
For further comment contact:
Harry Burkhardt 021 485 985
For media assistance contact:
Darrell Carlin 021 709 907