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Otaraua resists Waitara land grab.
The mouth of the Waitara River which includes the Pekapeka Block with Mounga Taranaki in the background

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A member of  Otaraua hapu in Taranaki says the occupation of Waitara is New Zealand's version of Israel's settlement building.

The Maori affairs select committee will this week hear submissions on the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill, which will returned a small area of council land to Te Atiawa while allowing existing lessees to freehold the rest.

Rawiri Doorbar says Otaraua's bottom line is still the return of the whenua that sparked the first Taranaki War in 1860, but the bill makes that an even more distant possibility.

He says if contrasts with New Zealand leading a vote in the United Nations Security Council against Israel building settlements on occupied Palestinian land on the West Bank.

The correct response from Israel to New Zealand is 'don't talk about the stick in our eye when you have a log in your eye.' New Zealand has a cheek to go anywhere and talk about what another country should do when it still suppresses and denies justice to its indigenous people," Mr Doorbar says.

He says hapu in Waitara can't keep their people because they have no land for housing or jobs.


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