High Court Rules 2016, pt 13 – recovery of land – recreation reserve and accessway owned and managed by Far North District Council – Reserves Act 1977, s 16 – Local Government Act 1974, pt 21, ss 316-317 – land occupied by persons unknown who have no permission, consent or licence to be there – public right of freedom of entry and access – no right to remain continuously or to construct structures – orders against unnamed occupiers
Far North District Council v The Unlawful Occupiers of Local Government Land at Waitangi  NZHC 1545 per Powell J.
Near Te Tii Marae at Waitangi, the Far North District Council owns and manages a recreation reserve and accessway, which were being occupied by unknown persons who had erected various structures and created pathways over both properties.
The occupiers had no permission, consent or licence to be there and had ignored trespass notices served on them. The ongoing occupation was preventing the recreation reserve and accessway from being used for their respective purposes.
The police advised the council they would not support an eviction without a court order.
As a result, the council applied pursuant to Part 13 of the High Court Rules 2016 to recover both the recreation reserve and accessway.
Applicable principles: High Court Rules 2016, pt 13 – recovery of land – procedural aspects (no need to name any person as defendant) – title and history of recreation reserve and accessway – current management of recreation reserve – Reserves Act 1977, s 16 – current management of accessway – Local Government Act 1974, pt 21, ss 316-317 – both owned and managed by the council – no permission, consent, or licence for occupiers – public right of freedom of entry and access – no right to remain on the lands continuously or to construct structures, pitch tents or create pathways – occupation preventing the public from utilising the recreation reserve – appropriate to grant orders sought – procedural difficulties with costs award given no named defendants
Held: Council granted possession of the lands. All persons in occupation must quit the lands and remove all possessions, structures and other improvements within three working days. Declaration that the council is entitled to remove any persons or any possessions, structures, or other improvements that remain on the lands after the three working day period.