Ngati Pukenga treaty settlement a time for reflection
Ngati Pukenga treaty settlement a time for
Tauranga iwi Ngati Pukenga has today signed a deed of settlement with the Crown to settle its Treaty of Waitangi claims.
Hundreds of members of Ngati Pukenga, other iwi, guests and representatives of the Crown gathered at Te Whetu o te Rangi marae at Welcome bay to sign a deed of settlement
Ngati Pukenga was left virtually landless after the Crown initiated military conflict in 1864 and subsequently confiscated large tracts of land in the Western Bay of Plenty. This was despite the fact Ngati Pukenga had honoured an early agreement with the Crown not to engage in the conflict.
Ngati Pukenga got scattered to four small kainga (settlements) between Whangarei, Welcome Bay (Tauranga) Manaia (Coromandel), Maketu
The settlement includes financial and commercial redress of $5 million, the return of culturally significant properties including Liens block, Pae ki Hauraki, Te Tihi o Hauturu and Otukopiri, $500,000 for cultural revitalisation and $180,000 for marae revitalisation in Manaia.
Rehua Smallman Chairman of Te Au Maaro o Pukenga (the body which has negotiated the claims on before of Ngati Pukenga descendents) said the signing the deed of settlement was a time for reflection not celebration.
“It was bad enough that our land got confiscated in the first place. But, to then be shut out of the Native Land court process in the 1880s that saw some iwi get some of their land back really rubbed salt into the wounds,” Mr Smallman said.
“However, our people voted overwhelmingly to accept this deal so we could all move on and try to build a better future for our mokopuna,” he said.
Lead Claims Negotiator Rahera Ohia said it the settlement process is arduous and sometimes divisive which at times can pit you against your neighbours and your relations.
“Our forebears have protested the actions of the Crown and fought for wrongs to be addressed since the 1800s. Those of us here are the mouthpiece of those who carried this fight for over a century,” Ms Ohia said.
“It was a courageous decision by our people to overwhelmingly accept this settlement and give us the opportunity as a people to move forward.