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Central North Island (CNI) District Inquiry
The central North Island (CNI) inquiry, presided over by Judge Wickliffe, encompasses around 170 claims covering three districts – Rotorua, Taupo, and Kaingaroa.
CNI is the first example of the Tribunal's new inquiry process known as the modular new approach, which allows claimants to opt for some Tribunal involvement but not necessarily a full inquiry. This choice will usually be made when the claimants concerned are primarily focused on settlement negotiations, but the Tribunal assists with planning and commissioning research and addressing larger generic issues. Developed in the central North Island inquiry as a modification of the new approach, the modular new approach was designed to meet the particular needs and aspirations of the claimants and Crown in that region.
Major issues in the inquiry include the Native Land Court and Maori land alienation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the vesting and management of land in the twentieth century, development schemes, takings for public works and scenery preservation, exotic forestry, tourism, geothermal issues, and political engagement between central North Island Maori and the Crown.
The CNI hearings have been completed. The final hearing week was held from 7 to 9 November 2005. In that hearing, the Crown presented its closing submissions. Claimant counsel also had an opportunity to present replies to the Crown's closing submissions. The Tribunal has issued its stage 1 report on the inquiry.