Iwi buys school’s land

The Ngai Tai ki Tamaki iwi has purchased the land Macleans College sits on in Bucklands Beach. Times photo Wayne Martin

A Maori iwi has made a deal to buy the land occupied by an east Auckland secondary school.

Ngai Tai ki Tamaki has paid $97 million to the Crown to purchase the site Macleans College sits on in Bucklands Beach.

The iwi’s chief executive Tama Potaka says the land is subject to an “option to purchase” agreed to in the Treaty of Waitangi settlement between the Crown and Ngai Tai ki Tamaki.

“Ngai Tai is now exercising that option to purchase,” Potaka told the Times.

“It reinforces our mana whenua (territorial rights), mana moana (authority), and manawa (heart) in our rohe (area) of interest.

“It also provides a suitable risk-adjusted return for our investment purposes.”

Potaka says the iwi expects the purchase will have a “very positive effect” on surrounding property values given the price being paid for the land.

“Macleans College will continue to be one of the best secondary schools in the country for academic and related performance.”

Ministry of Education head of education infrastructure service Kim Shannon says the sale is part of the settlement of historical Treaty claims.

“The sale and lease back of specific Crown land is a relatively common arrangement negotiated and entered into by the Crown and iwi as part of the settlement of these claims.

“The sale of Macleans College school site (land only) took place on 30 March 2021, in accordance with the Ngai Tai ki Tamaki deed of settlement dated 7 November 2015.”

Shannon says the land in question is 12 hectares.

The school site has been sold, subject to a perpetual lease back to the Crown and the Ministry of Education remains the owner of the school buildings on the land.

“Nothing will change for the [school’s] board of trustees and its operation of the school, or the local community,” she says.

“The school’s day-to-day operations will not be impacted by the sale and lease-back arrangement”

Shannon says the current annual lease cost is about $6m.