AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Maori have worked for six years toward getting Mount Maunganui, known by the Maori name Mauao, given back to them. Mauao is an extinct volcanic cone that rises above the town of Mount Maunganui, a suburb of Tauranga. Mauao is a former Maori pa, a fortified village from the 19th century or earlier.
The proposed bill would hand over Mauao to three Maori iwi. [“Iwi” is a term roughly similar to “clan”.] A clause in the proposed bill seems to suggest that the Crown would still own Mauao after the handover. The Crown claims that the clause at issue refers only to public safety and that the Crown will take responsibility if someone gets injured on the mountain, which is a popular hiking spot open to the public.
There is also some controversy over the Waitaha iwi’s participation in management decisions but not ownership, according to Radio New Zealand.
For more information, please see:
Radio New Zealand – Iwi debate Mt Maunganui ownership – 31 December 2007
Stuff.co.nz – Iwi take issue with clause in handover bill – 31 December 2007