Crown admits it failed Māori over airport land sale

Source: 1News

A Kapiti Coast hapū is hopeful for compensation after the Crown admitted a treaty breach over the sale of a slice of airport land at Paraparaumu.

The government took the land from Māori in 1939 under the Public Works Act for an airport during the war.

After it was privatised in 1995, the owner sold off surplus land on Avion Terrace, but iwi weren’t offered a chance to buy it back, sparking protests.

Now the Crown has admitted it failed to exercise its oversight and didn’t protect the rights of Māori.

“It’s probably the best sign that’s ever happened in the last sort of 25 years,” said Tony Jackson, the chair of Puketapu Ki Paraparaumu.

He said it was a great development for the hapū.

“Hopefully it signals something in the future that means we can have control over that airport land,” said Jackson.

The matter is before the Waitangi Tribunal, which will consider any potential redress once an inquiry is complete.

The airport is privately owned by the Templeton Group. In 2020, it floated plans to sell the land or repurpose it, prompting a backlash from the community.

But the Government is changing the way private airport land sales are handled. It wants Land Information (LINZ) to have the final say on whether land is offered back, not private airport companies.