For the last six weeks the park adjourning Takitimu Drive, below 9th Ave, has been the home of a squatter.
This isn’t your usual homeless person, but this is an ‘occupation’ by one Mr Ranginui (that is the name he told me), says former regional councillor Andrew von Dadelszen.
The squatter on Takitimu Drive. Photo: Supplied.
“Who already has a home, according to him, adjourning, or part of, the Judea Marae. He says that he has a dispute with the Marae, and that as a tribe member of Ngati Ranginui he owns the park, and Tauranga City Council and the Police can’t evict him.”
Andrew asked councillor Bev Edlin for help, and both Tauranga City staff and the police have visited Mr Ranginui. He tells me he has told them to take him to court, and as a result there seems to be no further action, and he continues to squat there.
Councillor Bev Edlin says the squatter is claiming land rights, and the council staff are working through it.
“I was talking to people about it and they say there are a few others starting to camp there as well. Whether they are going there separately or in support I don’t know,” says Bev.
The man’s been camping alongside the track for three or four weeks and Bev took the matter to council staff.
“Some of these people, and I haven’t met this guy, some of them are not understanding quite what it happening out there and that things have been settled,” says Bev.
Council staff are communicating with him to hurry him along and find him a place.
“A lot of the issues are what can they do to help him? It’s not just kicking him off the land, it’s trying to find him the help he needs – if he needs it. It’s not as simple as going along and telling him to move on.”
Andrew says he’s told the squatter that Ngati Ranginui is been part of the 2012 Treaty Settlement of $140 million, with $38 million going directly to Ngati Ranginui, and that is full and final settlement for all Tauranga confiscated land.
“He just doesn’t want to listen, and locals are getting annoyed that this gentleman can continue to squat, including defecating in the bushes, and force female walkers and joggers to refrain from using this section of the track at and after dusk,” says Andrew.
“I’ve been told he has been abusive to several female walkers, and my questioning him saw his aggression rise also.
“I know that if I tried to set up a tent there, the council would have me immediately evicted. Come on Tauranga City Council staff – show some backbone and get this squatter removed. We can’t have different rules for different ethnicities.”