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Ngati Tama Claims Settlement Bill - 2nd reading

Wednesday 12 May 2004

Ngati Tama Claims Settlement Bill - 2nd reading


Tû tautoko ana i tçnei pire ahakoa ngâ pôrarurarutanga kei waenganui i a Ngâti Tama. Kei a râtau anô te huarahi ki mua. I stand to support the Ngati Tama Claims Settlement Bill, and I say so knowing that a number of issues have arisen during the settlement process. I want to say that the resolution of those issues lies with Ngâti Tama. This is its bill. Ngâti Tama is a North Taranaki iwi.

Its historical claims relate mostly to the loss of life and destruction of property during the Taranaki wars, and the loss of land later on. The Crown recognises that the confiscation of lands and other resources that have made a significant contribution to the wealth and development of this country left Ngâti Tama virtually landless.

The bill makes it clear that this is a comprehensive and full and final settlement of all historical claims relating to Ngâti Tama in Taranaki. I know that Ngâti Tama has been waiting a long time for the Crown to apologise. It is right and just that the Crown apologises for the breaches of the treaty. I also say that before 1860 Ngâti Tama was prosperous and economically successful. However, the widespread loss of Ngâti Tama land as a result of the Crown's waging of war and subsequent confiscations hindered the economic, social, and cultural development of Ngâti Tama throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Crown has acknowledged that it breached the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles. The Crown regrets, and unreservedly apologises to Ngâti Tama for, its actions that resulted in loss of life during the Taranaki wars, and the virtual landlessness of Ngâti Tama in Taranaki. Those actions have caused suffering and hardship for Ngâti Tama over the generations, to the present day.

This settlement is a milestone for Ngâti Tama and the Crown. It will allow Ngâti Tama to begin its development plans and look ahead to a brighter future full of opportunities. The settlement will also help restore the honour of the Crown, and will help both parties to move forward together as treaty partners. The settlement is very significant. It is the second Taranaki treaty settlement to be finalised. It will be followed shortly by a third, with the signing of the Ngâ Rauru deed of settlement.

We hope this settlement will encourage other iwi from Taranaki, and, indeed, from around the motu, to enter into negotiations with the Crown. I was a member of the Mâori Affairs Committee, which considered the bill, and that committee went through a thorough process that involved a day of hearing oral submissions from a range of interested parties.

We listened to the kôrero of the people on the contents of the bill and on the settlement generally. As is the case with most settlements, there were some people who raised significant concerns about the mandate of the negotiators. We, the members of the Mâori Affairs Committee, feel that the answers to their concerns can be found in their participation in Te Rûnunga o Ngâti Tama.

We encourage them to involve themselves in the future of Ngâti Tama by actively participating in the rûnunga's elections and other post-settlement asset management processes. I will comment briefly on the criticisms of the Office of Treaty Settlements.

We, the members of the Mâori Affairs Committee, did ask the Office of Treaty Settlements officials to approach Ngâti Tama negotiators in order to talk through a number of issues. They did the best they could, as instructed by our committee. As it was, they were unable to resolve those issues adequately, and we felt that it was important to move on. I also want to respond to Mr Stephen Frank's comments about the contents of the bill.

He described its words as weasel words. If one looks at a bill in isolation from the discussions with the people involved in that particular settlement, then one has no idea about the issues it is attempting to address. Ngâti Tama wants to move on, and we want to help it to do that. It may be that Ngâti Tama will come back to the Crown in the future to relitigate the issues, but so might Ngâi Tahu, Tainui, or many others. This Government is doing the best it can to help them move forward.

I have gained the impression throughout this debate that many of the previous speakers have no appreciation of what 160 years of grievance can do to a people. It is time to move on. [Interruption] Mr Franks obviously does. As I said in the beginning, the Ngâti Tama iwi has been waiting a very long time to see its historical treaty claims acknowledged and resolved by the Crown. I wish the people of Ngâti Tama all the best for moving forward, and rapid development and full expression of their tino rangatiratanga, or self-development.

Kia ora.

ENDS

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