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Crown reps meet on central North Island claims

Crown and representatives meet on central North Island claims

Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson will meet with a number of central North Island claimant tribes on Friday, to begin dialogue on how Treaty claims in the region might be progressed.

The talks will be with representatives of the Te Arawa and Mataatua waka (canoes), which includes the large tribal confederations of Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa and Tuhoe. The claims of these groups stretch from Taupo to the Bay of Plenty and include large areas of Crown forest land.

The initiative follows recent progress with two central North Island groups – Ngati Awa and Ngati Tuwharetoa (Bay of Plenty) - who have both initialled settlement agreements with the Crown, Margaret Wilson said.

“The Government is committed to continuing this progress on claims involving Crown forest land. There have been various proposals from central North Island claimants on how to do this. I welcome this opportunity to sit down and identify common ground and discuss how their Treaty claims might be progressed.”

Margaret Wilson said key issues to be considered were what groups wanted to be included in any negotiations, how they would come together, who would represent them and how negotiations would relate to the Waitangi Tribunal inquiries in the region that are planned or under way.

“These important issues need to be clarified before negotiations can start. Former Cabinet Minister David Caygill has been engaged by the Crown to facilitate the discussions. The process will be inclusive and evolving, and there will be no formal settlement negotiations until after claimant groups have agreed on negotiators for that purpose. “I plan to take a report to Cabinet early next year summarising what has been learned from the discussions and setting out the Crown’s next steps,” Margaret Wilson said.

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