Nau mai, haere mai, whakatau mai ki te matapihi tirohanga o te Te Aakitai Whenua
Te Aakitai Tangata, ara “Kei Taamaki te Rua o Te Waiohua”
Kia kotahi tatou i raro i te Kiingitanga. Ki te whai atu nga rongo pai mo tatou Uri whakatupu.
Te Kaahu Pokere o Tamaki Makaurau e kore i ngaro i te hinapouri
The Black hawk of Taamaki will never disappear into the darkness.
Ko te mea nui i tenei ao? He tangata.

Taonga Tuturu Maori Land Court Decision

Please find attached the final decision of the Maori Land Court in April 2013 determining Te Ākitai Waiohua as the traditional owners of 192 Taonga Tūturu found at Auckland Airport. 

This case involved a large number of koiwi (human remains) and ancient taonga tūturu found in 2008 and 2009 at Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) in Mangere, at an Airport runway development site. After they were unearthed, AIAL stored the artefacts in a container for over 18 months, although normal practice requires such koiwi and taonga to be reburied.  

Disagreement on what should happen caused delays and aggravated the problem. These issues made the newspapers at the time (to read the article please click here and here). 

The 192 taonga tuturu were dated by archaeologists as being from the time period 1620AD to 1870AD, which made the finding of regional if not national significance. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage became involved, as it is assumed under the Protected Objects Act 1975 that any taonga tūturu found are owned by the Crown, until the Maori Land Court determines the traditional owners. 

To ensure we were able to have the final say on what happened to the taonga tūturu, Te Ākitai Waiohua were required to prove before the Maori Land Court, traditional ownership over the taonga in our rohe through the 1600-1870AD period. After submitting our briefs of evidence, Judge Stephanie Milroy accepted the position of Te Ākitai Waiohua at a Court sitting on 20 April 2013. 

This is an important legal decision for Te Ākitai Waiohua because not only does it allow us to retain control over our important taonga, but it reaffirms the status of Te Ākitai Waiohua in the region. 

Maori Land Court Decision