Leaseholders go to hearing

Tuesday 17 August 2004

Waitara residents turned out yesterday to witness the future of the town's leasehold land debated in court.

By The Landlord

About 30 people packed the public gallery of the High Court in New Plymouth for day one of a case brought by the Waitara Leaseholders Association (WLA) against the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC).

The association ultimately wants the High Court to rule that the council did not follow the right process when opting to sell Waitara leasehold land to the Crown. The Crown plans to return it to Te Atiawa as part of its settlement for historical grievances.

But the purpose of yesterday's preliminary hearing, before Justice Harrison, Auckland, was to prove whether or not the land in question was under trust.

The Waitara land in dispute covers 179 hectares, 85ha is reserve and 94ha is leased. It is the leased land that is going to be sold under the council's decision.

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