AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Feb. 12 (UPI) — The New Zealand government and leaders of the Maori people signed a treaty Friday giving the indigenous tribe ownership of 11 volcanic cones in Auckland.
Other treaties still being negotiated could transfer ownership of the land under two prisons, The New Zealand Herald reports. Te Warena Taua, a spokesman for a group claiming one of the prison sites, said the Maori could be landlords of Paremoremo Prison.
“Whether there is a prison there or not … it is crown land and it is subject to our claim,” he said.
One of the cones, named One Tree Hill, had been bare for almost a decade, TVNZ reports. In 2000, Mike Smith, a Maori activist, cut down the 125-year-old Monterey pine that gave the hill its name, and the Auckland City Council agreed nothing would be planted there until the land claims were settled.
Mark Bowater, parks manager for the council, said the current plan is to plant nine trees on the hill. He said at least some are likely to die and the hill could end up with a single dominant survivor.
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