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Crown and Ngati Awa initial Deed of Settlement

Monday 8 July 2002 Media Statement

Crown and Ngati Awa initial Deed of Settlement

Treaty settlements took another positive step forward today with the initialling of a Deed of Settlement by the Crown and Ngati Awa at Parliament, Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson said.

”The road to settlement for Ngati Awa has been a long one with negotiations starting about six years ago,” she said. “Negotiations have been very challenging for both parties with a number of complex issues and various competing interests in the Bay of Plenty region that had to be worked through.

“I am very pleased that we have reached this historic milestone, and I think a lot of credit is due to the dedication and perseverance of the people of Ngati Awa and their negotiators as well as Crown officials.”

Ngati Awa, from Mataatua waka, is located in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and has 13,000 people and 22 hapu.

The draft Deed of Settlement sets out the Crown’s settlement offer for the historical claims of Ngati Awa that in general terms relate to land confiscation and other dealings which left Ngati Awa virtually landless.

The offer is made up of a redress package that includes an agreed historical account and formal Crown apology, cultural redress including the transfer of seven sites of significance to Ngati Awa, and a combination of cash and Crown-owned land up to the value of $42.39 million.

Margaret Wilson said that an extensive process has been carried out to address the interests of claimant groups whose tribal areas overlap with Ngati Awa. Elements of the redress included in the Deed of Settlement were recently considered by the Waitangi Tribunal at the request of some overlapping groups. Some of these groups will also be heard in the High Court in early August.

“In an area like the Eastern Bay of Plenty where a number of iwi live in close proximity there will always be overlapping claims issues and both the Crown and Ngati Awa have worked very hard to address these.

“The government and Ngati Awa have given a commitment that after the initialling they will not progress to a final Deed of Settlement until the Tribunal has reported and the High court has issued judgement. This means Ngati Awa will not begin their formal ratification process, nor will the parties sign the Deed of Settlement, until the current Tribunal and High Court processes in relation to this matter have been completed.

“By initialling a draft Deed at this time, the government is acting in good faith towards Ngati Awa who have been in negotiations with the Crown for some time. The undertaking that has been given allows those overlapping groups to work through the course of action they have chosen, as it is their right to do, before the Deed of Settlement is finalised.”

Margaret Wilson said today’s milestone continues the Labour Government’s “pretty impressive” record in Treaty settlements.

“Today’s achievement with Ngati Awa brings to four the number of groups to have reached this stage of the settlement process under this Government.

“There are two other claimant groups in intensive negotiations who are working toward agreeing a draft Deed of Settlement before the end of the year. In total, this Government has engaged about 30 different groups at various stages of the negotiations process.

“Given the complex nature of these negotiations, I think that this Government and the groups in negotiations have accomplished a significant amount in just under three years,” Margaret Wilson said.


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