The land on which downtown Tauranga now stands is the Te Papa block.
Ngati Tapu and Ngai Tamarawaho sold the land to the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1838 and 1839 in order to provide a base for CMS and to benefit local iwi. The missionaries held that whenua on solemn trust, knowing that it was to be returned to iwi if the purpose of the land changed.
However, during the New Zealand Wars, CMS came under pressure from a land hungry government. In March 1866, following the battles in Tauranga, CMS bowed to demand and gifted more than 1000 acres of tribal land to the colonial government, without iwi approval.
Historian Dr Alistair Reese has spent many years researching the Te Papa block and will present to us a summary of his report, “Te Papa: Naboth's Vineyard? Towards Reconciliation in Tauranga Moana”.
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