Four islands of the inner Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana have been returned to their original owners, a significant milestone in the settlement of treaty claims in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Rangitoto, Motutapu, Motuihe and Tiritiri Matangi were transferred to the Tupuna Taonga Trust that represents the 13 iwi of Tāmaki Makaurau for 31 days on 29 August 2015.
A well attended ceremony was held on Rangitoto to acknowledge the deep spiritual connection of Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau with the islands and the terms of a new and positive relationship with the Crown for their future management.
Many iwi representatives have been able to visit the islands for the first time assisted by the Department of Conservation.
At the end of September the islands are to be vested back to the Crown for the benefit of all people of Aotearoa. Through the generosity of the iwi there is no change to public access or management arrangements during and after the vesting and vest back.
A Conservation Management Plan for Rangitoto, Motutapu, Motuihe and Motukorea (Browns Island) will be developed to enable iwi to have ongoing involvement in the governance and management of these islands. The Department of Conservation will undertake public and stakeholder consultation on the plan over the next year.
Three areas on Rangitoto will remain in the permanent ownership of the Tupuna Taonga Trust including the summit of Rangitoto (to be named Ngā Pona-Toru-a-Peretā) and two sites at Islington Bay associated with historical waka moorings.