16 Aug Arikikapakapa Golf Course Land Returned to Ngāti Whakaue
The land on which the Arikikapakapa (Rotorua Golf Course) operates has been transferred from the Crown back to the Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust, as representatives of the original Ngāti Whakaue owners.
The golf course land was originally gifted by Ngāti Whakaue as a recreation reserve and was previously held and managed by the Department of Conservation. The land continues to be leased to the Rotorua Golf Club (RGC).
The transfer of the land back to the Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust is fully supported by the RGC says its Chair, Leith Comer. “Pukeroa are the rightful owners of this land. It made no sense for the Crown through the Department of Conservation to continue to own this land. We have a very good relationship with Pukeroa and have already agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with them which provides mutual benefits for both parties going forward that we never could have achieved with the Department of Conservation when it was the landowner. Among other things this will allow us to plan for our future developments with much more certainty.”
David Tapsell, Pukeroa Deputy Chair, agrees that the MOU sets in place better outcomes not just for Pukeroa and the RGC, but for Rotorua as well. “As the landowner we can provide greater security of tenure for the Golf Club (as the existing lessee) which will allow them to confidently fund and progress a number of overdue course improvements and upgrades. That will not only support a better golf offering for locals, it will also encourage greater golf tourism given RGC’s proposals to redesign parts of the course layout to take better advantage of the unique geothermal features of the land. That is important as part of a greater Covid recovery build back plan that we, along with others, are actively participating in.”
“The MOU also provides for us the land owner to participate in the course redevelopment project itself which will include representing our cultural foundation over the whenua. We have agreed with RGC to explore employment opportunities for Ngāti Whakaue which may include green keeping and course apprenticeship roles. We are also looking to develop a Ngāti Whakaue golf scholarship programme which we will support.”
“The transfer of the Arikikapakapa golf course land is a further step towards us satisfying one of our key strategic goals, namely the return of our traditional whenua.”