A group of prominent authors
have added their support to a campaign against the Government
taking land from renowned writer Patricia Grace.
Witi Ihimaera, Dame Fiona Kidman, Dame Anne Salmond, Sir
James McNeish and Dr Paul Moon have signed an open letter to
the Government condemning it for taking Grace's Waikanae land
under the Public Works Act in order to build the Kapiti
Expressway, which is part of the Wellington Northern
Corridor, a "road of national significance".
The letter, which was initiated by Mana magazine, says
Grace's land is a special case that deserves to be exempt
from the current plan.
"Patricia's land is Maori freehold land but more than that,
it is land of historical significance. Patricia has inherited
this land from her tipuna, her great, great grandfather Wi
Parata Te Kakakura. This Government has either done no
research into the significance of Wi Parata and this land or
has simply ignored the facts."
The campaigners said in a statement the letter was being
released to coincide with Waitangi Day "to remind the
Government and New Zealanders that this is no way to treat a
national cultural figure in the 21st century".
" It also raises the wider issue of the Government failing to
learn from history and repeating the same mistakes of the
past, mistakes that are acknowledged in the many treaty
settlements and apologies from the Crown."
The statement said Grace had been treated in a "shabby way"
by the Government as it ignored a history where her family
gave large areas of surrounding land for the settlement of
Grace, 76, has been made a Companion of the Queen's Service
Order for community service, she has received a Prime
Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement and has been
appointed a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order
letter can be seen here