Auckland iwi Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki has unveiled tourism aspirations which include biking tours and accommodation on Mototapu Island. In mid-January, the iwi signed a conservation relationship agreement with the Department of Conservation, which confirmed their role as mana whenua in influencing policies, looking after the whenua (land) and taonga species, providing visitor information and protecting waahi tapu (sacred sites). They currently hold a concession to conduct commercial tours on both Rangitoto and Motutapu. The agreement was part of last year’s Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Treaty of Waitangi Settlement.
Last year the Supreme Court heard challenges by the iwi to ferry and tourism concessions granted by DOC. The Court confirmed the iwi as kaitiaki over the motu, with the Court saying that the rohe of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki extends across Tīkapa Moana/Hauraki Gulf and includes the ancestral motu of Rangitoto, Motutapu, and Motu-a-Ihenga (Motuihe), with which it has deep and long-standing connections.