Monday March 27, 2017   Last updated 00:09AM
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Wakatu judgement confirms iwi view of history
UMA Broadcasting Ltd

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The chair of Nelson’s Wakatu Incorporation says a Supreme Court finding that the crown had a fiduciary duty towards customary landowners at the top of the South Island is a major win.

Paul Morgan says legal scholars are still coming to grips with last week’s judgement, which allows kaumatua Rore Stafford to go back to the High Court to seek damages for descendants of those who sold their land to the New Zealand Company in 1839.

The court found that when the crown took over responsibility for the transaction, it had a trustee rather than a political relationship.

That means it had a duty to reserve existing villages and cultivations, 10 percent of the 150,000 acre settlement, instead of the less than 1 percent now administered by Wakatu.

Mr Morgan says while the win on points of law came in the Supreme Court, the foundation was an eight week High Court trial where Wakatu’s historic record was upheld.

"There was an overwhelming body of documentation in history that supported our postion that the agreement had not been actioned and that the crown and the New Zealand Company had effectively worked together to not fulfil their legal obligations," he says.

He says the case became about contracts rather than political or treaty promises.

FULL INTERVIEW WITH PAUL MORGAN

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