te Heuheu Salutes Taranaki Deed Of Settlement
Today's initialling of the Deed of Settlement between the Crown and representatives of Taranaki iwi, Ngati Ruanui is a significant step forward. However, the Government must now work to keep up the momentum created during the 1990s under National, Opposition Maori Affairs spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu said today.
"National is delighted that this part of the settlement with Ngati Ruanui was successfully concluded in Parliament this morning. This deal is a milestone for Taranaki.
"Taranaki has long been recognised by the Waitangi Tribunal as a region which had suffered greatly over successive generations. Taranaki people were left landless without doing any wrong, and often they were held without trial. Many were sent to the South Island to do hard labour, where many died.
"Former Treaty Negotiations Minister Sir Douglas Graham did much to enable today's signing. Both he and Ngati Ruanui showed great leadership in the lead up to the Heads of Agreement signing in September 1999.
"At the time, Ngati Ruanui working party chairman Pat Heremaia paid tribute to Sir Douglas as somebody who had followed the Parihaka prophet Te Whiti's negotiation principles of 'hoatu, homai' (give and take).
"Today's Deed of Settlement initialling marks a new beginning for a proud South Taranaki iwi. But let's not forget that it's only the first of eight Taranaki iwi to advance this far. Margaret Wilson and her Government must now step up their pace and progress other settlements," Georgina te Heuheu said.