Waitara Lands Act 2018

Waitara Lands Act Graphic

The Waitara Lands Act was passed in December 2018 and it came into force on 17 March 2019. You can read the Act here and find out more about the legislative process here

Information for Waitara leaseholders on leases and buying properties is available at Waitara Lands - Leases and Freeholding


A side agreement to the Waitara Lands Act was signed at Owae Marae in Waitara on 9 March 2019.  The Agreement relating to matters concerning the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Act 2018 sets a framework for how NPDC and Te Kōwhatu Tū Moana (TKTM) Trust, consisting of Manukorihi and Otaraua hapū, will work together.

Fast facts following Council meeting 7/12/2018

  • There were no major changes to the Bill from what was presented to the Council about a month previously.
  • Leaseholders will pay the market value for the land, as determined by an independent valuer. 
  • After almost 30 years of talks, this Bill is not perfect but it presents a real opportunity to unlock 770 Waitara properties valued at approximately $90 million.
  • It’s a co-governance model to benefit the people of Waitara which will mean investment in community projects and enhancing rivers, for everyone to enjoy.
  • We respect Otaraua’s decision to withdraw from the Bill but believe it is the best way forward, balancing a variety of competing interests.

Fast Facts, as at 1/11/2018


  • We acknowledge the land was originally confiscated by the government and in 1941 it was transferred to the former Waitara Borough Council.
  • The land became part of the newly formed New Plymouth District Council during the 1989 reorganisation of local government.
  • Our financial and legal obligations to all of our 80,000 residents mean we cannot simply return the land to the hapū.
  • After almost 30 years of talks, this draft Bill is not perfect but it’s the best way forward.
  • If this draft Bill doesn’t proceed, it will be a lost opportunity for this generation, after decades of on and off negotiations.


  • The Bill enables leaseholders to purchase freehold their leased properties at market value.
  • There are 770 Waitara properties valued at $90 million.
  • From the sale of these properties over the next 20 years, it is expected about $28 million over the same period will assist the two hapū to purchase, manage or develop land in Waitara.
  • Approximately $28 million will go to Waitara projects, co-governed by the hapū and NPDC, also over a 20-year period.
  • Approximately $34 million will be allocated to Waitara River and environment projects.  This will be co-governed by the hapū and iwi with interests in the river and the Taranaki Regional Council.

Parks and Reserves

  • About 120 hectares of land is available to hapū in various ways, mostly as reserves.
  • The Bill gifts 44 hectares of land to the hapū: 13 hectares of developed residential land and 31 hectares of reserve land.
  • The hapū will gain titles to parks and reserves totalling 13 hectares if they wish to take them.
  • The hapū also have the option to purchase five Crown Reserves totalling 26 hectares (Pukekohe Park, parts of Ranfurly Park, James Nuku Reserve, Te Puna Park and Joll St Reserve).  These will be co-governed with NPDC and have Reserve status, allowing for continued public access. They include West Quay, Kincade Park, Victoria Park, Tangaroa Reserve, Barclay Park, Pennington Park, East Quay, Memorial Park, Manukorihi Local Purpose Reserve, parts of Ranfurly Park, and Manukorihi Park.
  • The Bill allows the hapū an option to purchase another 35 hectares of land in Waitara such as the Waitara Golf Course. 

Select committee recommends New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill

On 1 August 2017 the Māori Affairs Committee recommended that Parliament approves the Bill.

The committee has recommended amendments to the Bill, which we support. These include:

  • Half of NPDC's funds from the leasehold lands (both sale and rental income) be used to help Manukorihi and Otaraua hāpu own land in and around Waitara. (The other half of the funds would still be used to establish a perpetual fund for the benefit of the wider Waitara community, managed by a joint NPDC and iwi committee.)
  • Taranaki Regional Council's funds from the leasehold lands be used on the Waitara River catchment by a joint TRC and iwi committee.

The Bill continues to include provisions for leaseholders to purchase the freehold title to their property. Leaseholders who don't exercise this right will be able to continue to rent their land.  

A second reading of the Bill will occur in Parliament in the coming weeks.

Read the Bill on the New Zealand Legislation website


Parliamentary process

The New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 14 September 2016 and had its first reading on 21 September. It was referred to the Māori Affairs Committee. The select committee's call for submissions on the  closed on 7 November. The Council presented its submission at the committee’s public hearing in New Plymouth on Friday 18 November.

On 1 August 2017 the Māori Affairs Committee  recommended that the Bill proceed with amendments. 

Following the select committee are three more Parliamentary stages: the Bill’s second reading, the Committee of the Whole House, and the third reading of the Bill. These stages could take about two months, although Parliament will not sit during the election period. 

Information on the Bill is available on the Parliament website and the Bill is available on the New Zealand Legislation website.  

Materials sent to the committee:


We are proposing to change the legal framework for the Waitara endowment land, including leasehold properties. This will be done through promoting new legislation to Parliament. The aims of this reform are to enable leaseholders to obtain freehold titles to their properties, create a new fund for the benefit of the Waitara community and transfer land to Te Atiawa.

The public's views on the proposed Bill were sought and 141 submissions were received. The Council considered all submissions at a public hearing on 15 June in Knox Church, Waitara and deliberated on all submissions on 20 June in the Civic Centre, New Plymouth. 

On 5 July 2016 we adopted the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill to promote to Parliament, subject to minor typographical changes. We gave notice of our intention to introduce a local Bill on 5 August 2016 and we presented the Bill to Parliament on 14 September 2016.

Related information

What happens next

The Bill is now beginning its parliamentary process, which starts with formal notification to all affected parties. Parliament sets its own timetables. However, the usual course would indicate that the Bill may take up to one year to pass through the Parliamentary processes and become law.

Waitara Lands Bill timeline

  • 1941: all endowment land in Waitara was in the hands of the Waitara Borough Council, NPDC’s predecessor.
  • 1989: local government amalgamation in New Zealand. At its first standard council meeting, the newly formed New Plymouth District Council decides to freehold its leasehold lands in Waitara.
  • 1992: NPDC introduces a Bill to Parliament but the Government raises concerns about the sale of such significant land and asks NPDC to try to reach a solution with Te Atiawa.
  • 2002: NPDC starts a review of its position in relation to the Waitara leasehold lands, involving extensive public consultation.
  • 30 March 2004: NPDC resolves to sell leasehold land to the Crown at fair market value for inclusion in Te Atiawa’s treaty settlement and withdraws its 1992 Bill.
  • 31 March 2004: first court proceedings against the Council issue by Waitara Leaseholders Association.
  • 4 November 2005: High Court decision against NPDC.
  • 20 March 2007: Court of Appeal ruling in favour of NPDC.
  • 14 May 2008: High Court strikes out six test cases of individual leaseholder claims against NPDC.
  • 7 September 2010: conditional sale and purchase agreement entered into between the Crown and NPDC to enable endowment land to be used in the settlement.
  • 23 August 2011: final individual leaseholder claim disposed of by Court of Appeal.
  • 30 May 2014: NPDC advised by Office of Treaty Settlements and the Te Atiawa Iwi Authority of their decision not to include Waitara lands in the settlement.
  • 8 August 2014: heads of agreement signed between NPDC at Te Kotahitangi o Te Atiawa (Te Atiawa's post-settlement authority).
  • April to May 2016: public consultation on draft New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill.
  • 14 September 2016: Bill introduced to Parliament.
  • 21 September 2016: Bill’s first reading in Parliament and is referred to the Maori Affairs Select Committee.
  • August 2017: the Māori Affairs Committee made recommendations to the bill starting a fresh round of talks between NPDC, Government and hāpu
  • August 2017: Parliament passed the bill in it's second reading and talks continue