Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust (Te Mana) is pleased to announce it has been appointed as responsible Trustee of the Pokohu A3 Māori Reservation, a site that is of immense cultural and historical significance to Ngāti Rangitihi Iwi.
Pokohu A3 Block comprises 41 hectares of undeveloped Māori freehold land adjacent to the Tarawera River in the Ruawahia Survey District which will now be administered by Te Mana on behalf of Ngāti Rangitihi as a Reserve.
The decision by the Māori Land Court to officially recognise Ngāti Rangitihi as owners and kaitiaki of this Block is significant. Ngāti Rangitihi has always exercised mana whenua in the Pokohu/Ruawahia lands.
Pokohu A3 Block is the gateway to our tribal lands inland and the gateway to the Tarawera Falls, and today, we have officially been recognised as its gatekeepers so that we can protect this whenua for generations to come. This is our taonga, our tūrangawaewae, that has now been rightfully returned to Ngāti Rangitihi.
In 2019, Te Mana was approved as the Post-Settlement Governance Entity (PGSE) to receive and administer the Ngāti Rangitihi settlement redress. In 2020, Te Mana completed Te Tiriti o Waitangi settlement negotiations and the Ngāti Rangitihi Deed of Settlement was signed. This meant that an appropriate Ngāti Rangitihi entity now existed to administer the Pokohu A3 Block on behalf of Ngāti Rangitihi beneficiaries.
Prior to the Māori Land Court ruling this month, the land block had been administered by the Te Arawa Lakes Trust. We thank the Te Arawa lakes Trust for their generosity and support in administering this Block until we had the right mechanisms in place to administer it ourselves. The Treaty settlement has given our Iwi the mana to advocate for the return of lands that are culturally, historically and spiritually significant to us.
Ngāti Rangitihi looks forward to working in partnership with the Department of Conservation to improve facilities and access through to the Falls, as well as investigate ways to visually and symbolically express Ngāti Rangitihi mana on the Pokuhu A3 Block.
We will be looking to celebrate this special milestone with our Iwi at this significant site, once Aotearoa is at Alert Level 1, and dependent on restrictions on numbers for gatherings. Stay tuned for updates.
- In 1884, the Native Land Court awarded ownership of Pokohu A block to Ngāti Rangitihi. In 1908, Pokohu A was partitioned and title for the newly-created Pokohu A3 block was vested in twelve persons to hold on trust for Ngāti Rangitihi generally.
- Beneficial ownership of Pokohu A3 block has remained with those twelve individuals and has never been succeeded.
- By Order-in-Council issued on 29 November 1973, Pokohu A3 block was set apart as a Māori Reservation under s 439 of the Māori Affairs Act 1953 as a place of historical and scenic interest for the common use and benefit of the peoples of Ngāti Rangitihi.
- By order of the Māori Land Court dated 19 December 1973, the Pokohu A3 Māori Reservation was vested in the Te Arawa Māori Trust Board as trustee under s 24C of Māori Trust Boards Act 1955 to hold and administer for the benefit of Ngāti Rangitihi generally, since at the time, Ngāti Rangitihi had no administration entity set up to look after the lands.
- Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust is now the Post-Settlement Governance Entity for Ngāti Rangitihi and holds and administers iwi-owned assets pursuant to a mandate confirmed by iwi ballot conducted June – August 2019.
- At the 2018 AGM for Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust, the beneficiaries in attendance resolved: “That the responsible trustee for Pokohu A3 transfers from Te Arawa Lakes Trust to Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust”.
- The proposed transfer of trusteeship was discussed with the Te Arawa Lakes Trust and the Lakes Trust have agreed to the decision of the Court.