Gifted Reserves Protocol Committee
The Gifted Reserves Protocol Committee
In recognition of Ngati Whakaue's spiritual and historical interest in the land known as the Te Pukeroa Oruawhata Block (aka Rotorua Township) the Rotorua Lakes Council signed a Protocol Agreement with the Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust on 30 July 1996. This agreement sets out the process of consultation with Ngati Whakaue regarding the gifted reserves within the Rotorua Township.
Rotorua Township - Historical overview
On 25 November 1880 an agreement, now known as the Fenton Agreement, was reached and signed by Judge Fenton for the government and 47 Maori representatives. The land to be included in the new township was said to run from the west end of Te Pukeroa to Puarenga Stream and from Lake Rotorua up to the mountains, excluding the native village of Ohinemutu. The total area was around three thousand acres. The government was to act as the trustee/agent for Ngati Whakaue for the creation of the town. The main principles were:
- That the land would not be sold
- That 99 year leases would be granted. During that time the Maori owners would receive substantial and perpetual income.
- That the land would return to the people after the expiration of the leases.
- That Ngati Whakaue would set aside reserve inthe town for recreation sanatoriums, railways, hospitals etc.
- That the Crown would control the thermal waters with the consent of Ngati Whakaue
On September 1881 the Thermal Springs Districts Act incorporating the Fenton Agreement became law. Following this, on 12 October 1881, a proclamation defined the Pukeroa-Oruawhata Block as a district, effectively creating the township of Rotorua.
Provision of Reserves in the Township
As part of the agreement, the Maori owners had made a considerable area available as public reserves. This area was defined in the original Fenton Agreement as Te Pukeroa, all the medicinal waters within the claim, and forty acres for a cemetery. The Thermal Springs Districts Act 1881 also made provision for the use and enjoyment by the public of all mineral or other springs, lakes rivers and waters, and for setting apart and dedicating of reserves for a park or domain, or any specific purpose of public amusement or recreation. The area of reserves that were set aside totaled some 1000 acres (approximately).
The Gifted Lands Protocol Agreement Today
The understanding between Council and Ngati Whakaue is that so far as it may lawfully do so the Council will not effect any changes of status with respect to any such reserves or take steps to dispose of or alienate any of them without first obtaining the consent in writing of Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust (representative of Ngati Whakaue descendants/beneficiaries) following prior negotiation and consultation on an equal standing basis with the Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust. It is understood that if such reserves should not be used for their original purpose then they should be returned to Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust on behalf of Ngati Whakaue, unless there is agreement otherwise.