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Pouakani settlement - it's about time!

Georgina te Heuheu

National Maori Affairs Spokesperson

8 September 2000

Pouakani settlement - it's about time!

National's Georgina te Heuheu says it is satisfying to see the Pouakani settlement move a step closer to resolution, but that the Government can claim little credit for keeping the momentum in Treaty settlements.

The Pouakani Claims Settlement Bill, introduced to Parliament yesterday, gives effect to a Deed of Settlement signed on19 November 1999 between Hon Sir Douglas Graham for the Crown and the Pouakani people.

The claim is centred on the Pouakani Block to the north-west of Lake Taupo. The people concerned are the descendants of Maori who had 100,000 acres of land taken from them under the Native Land Laws in 1889.

"These families will be very pleased," Georgina te Heuheu said. "They worked hard to secure their settlement with Sir Douglas before he left Parliament."

"It is the first settlement concerning the operation and impact of the Native Land Laws. It will settle the Pouakani historical claims and also a contemporary Crown legal liability resulting from an unlawful boundary decision by the Native Land Court in 1891. That decision has been the subject of recent litigation before the Maori Land Court.

"It has taken this Labour Government nine months to introduce this Bill, and there are no signs of any other claims nearing resolution. The only possible conclusion is that the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process has ground to a halt.

"This lack of action is extremely disappointing to all New Zealand peoples. To those seeking justice it means the wrongs of the past remain unaddressed. And to many others it simply serves to delay the process of resolving grievances so that Maori can move forward.

"I am filled with joy for the Pouakani people that they have moved a step closer to receiving the apology and compensation which they deserve. But I am disappointed on behalf of others awaiting justice, who are getting poor service indeed from this Government," Georgina te Heuheu said.

Ends

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