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Plans To Demolish Te Urewera Huts Unlawful, High Court rules

The High Court has found plans to demolish a number of huts in Te Urewera were unlawful.

A High Court judicial review decision found, the demolition of 29 Department of Conservation huts in Te Uruwera last year was illegal.

It found Te Urewera Board breached the Te Uruwera Act by not having a proper operation plan, over the hut demolitions.

In a decision released today, Justice Mathew Downs ruled the Crown acted unlawfully by supporting the demolition without a plan.

Justice Downs said the Board and Crown acted unlawfully by claiming to adopt a retrospective plan.

Justice Downs highlighted the Crown's adoption of such a plan, calling it a "reviewable error."

The Board and Te Uru Taumatua did not act unlawfully in relation to consultation, the High Court ruled.

Wharenui Tuna of Tūhoe (Te Whakatane hapū) took the Board, TUT and DOC to court over the hut demolitions.

Tuna won an interim junction last year, stopping the further demolition of the huts.

Tuna said he is delighted with the Court’s decision and feels vindicated in his challenge to the actions of all three respondents.

Tuna told the High Court, that his Tūhoetanga was affected by the destruction of the huts.

The huts provided shelter and a way for him, his whānau and hapū to connect with Te Urewera, Tuna said.

In response to the decision, a Te Uru Taumatua spokesperson told 1XX News the Court have no authority to speak on Tuhoe matters and Tūhoetanga.

The spokesperson said the Court found the iwi were not required to consult on its annual operations plan.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Public Interest Journalism funded through New Zealand On Air.


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