Rangiteaorere descendants refuse to vacate tribal land

By Kereama Wright

A family squatting on tribal land in Rotorua is refusing to leave after being served with a trespass notice.

Hori Kiel, of Ngāti Rangiteaorere, was served a 14 day trespass notice dated February 27 2019 by the Ngāti Rangiteaorere Koromatua Council (NRKC) for land invasion unlawful occupation of a building located on its tribal lands.

The land, currently being leased by a farmer, is being used for hay.

After thirty years working on farms all over the East Coast, arthritis forced Kiel to leave the workforce.  He decided to move home to Rotorua.

After seeking verbal approval from NRKC chair Kereama Pene, Kiel moved in to a vacant building on the land just before Christmas 2017.

“I had an agreement with the trust at the time that we could stay here after I finished work and bring my family here and go from there and he agreed.”

Since then Kiel claims he has spent up to $20,000 renovating the building, which included a new plumbing and sewerage system.  It is work NRKC say was not permitted and done without consent.

“NRKC does not accept that Māori have a right to invade its lands and buildings just because they can whakapapa to the tribe.”

“NRKC are prepared however to make other arrangements regarding Kiel, but will not tolerate land invasion in breach of law.”

As the housing situation in Rotorua worsens, Kiel is concerned about being displaced, “I am concerned. We’re a family and we stick together”.

But he says vacating the land is not an option at this stage, “I’m not leaving you know, I don’t give a damn what they say, I’m not going anywhere.”

The 14 day eviction period ended on March 13.