Corrections land returned to Tuwharetoa

  • Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga today helped celebrate the return of 8500ha of Crown land to Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

Some of the land on the Tongariro/Rangipō Prison site will continue to be used by Corrections to help rehabilitate prisoners.  This includes about 700ha for a training farm for prisoners to hone their farming skills, giving them real work opportunities on release.

The sale of the land to Ngāti Tūwharetoa was finalised today at a ceremony at Rongomai Marae near Taupō.

“This deal has been in negotiation since 2008 and all the parties involved should be proud of their contribution to this outcome,” says Mr Lotu-Iiga.

“This land has both cultural and commercial significance to Tūwharetoa.  It re-joins the Lake Taupo Forest land to the north and Lake Rotoaira Forest land to the south.”

The land includes several wāhi tapu and two rivers which are important to Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

“The sale provides the iwi involved with the resources to assist their economic, social and cultural development.  It also has benefits for Corrections and the prisoners who will gain valuable work skills and experience,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

Corrections and the iwi partnership signed the sale and purchase agreement on 17 April this year.

“I am honoured to take part in such a significant milestone for the people of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and all New Zealanders,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.