Hato Petera: Case for ownership “seems overwhelming”

Hato Petera

A high court judge says the Catholic bishop of Auckland’s substantive case for ownership of the land that Hato Petera College is located on “seems overwhelming”.

Late on Tuesday Judge Pheroze Jagose granted the bishop an order to the protesters to leave the land and remove their property within 48 hours.

However, he declined a request by the church’s lawyer for a further order authorising police to use force if necessary to evict the protest group.

But when RNZ visited the site on Thursday afternoon around 10 people were gathered beside their cars.

While they declined to comment they said staff from the Diocese had been to visit and they had packed up their things.

As the deadline came around a small procession of cars left the site, leaving the site empty except for their painted signs and flags.

The protest group, which said it represents the two Ngāti Paoa families that occupied the land before it was acquired by the Crown in the 1840s, has been living at the college marae since mid-August, before the college closed officially on August 31.

The two families said they were “repossessing” the land because the church is no longer using it for the purposes for which Governor George Grey granted it in 1850.

Grey granted the land to the Catholic Church in 1850 “for the education of children of our subjects of both races and of children of other poor and destitute persons being the inhabitants of the islands in the Pacific Ocean.”

A spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese said it was a good outcome and they hoped they could now get on with looking at other opportunities for the site with a number of educational offers already put forward.


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