Indigenous | Land

Tūtemohuta hapū determined to continue occupying Awaroa

The Ngāti Tūtemohuta hapū of Ngāti Tūwharetoa has moved on to a strip of land at Awaroa, which neighbours Lake Taupo to assert their sovereignty.

The area, designated as a residential reserve and used as a camping ground, was closed during the Covid-19 lockdown, and now it stays closed off by the hapu.

Hapu member Ngatoru Wall says her hapu is the guardian of the land, which her ancestors had used for fishing, and that it was not acceptable for freedom campers and dog owners to leave faeces over the land.

"When the lockdown came it was an opportunity for us to remove the abuse of our whenua."

"We know our tupuna occupied this whenua, so in my mind this is sorted."

Taupo District Council Acting CEO Dylan Tahau said as a result of the hapu move on to the land with fences and gates installed, the council was looking at the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act and was considering the public's rights for recreational purposes.