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Ngäti Awa bill first reading

Tue, 31 Aug 2004

Ngäti Awa bill first reading

The Ngäti Awa Claims Settlement Bill began its first reading in parliament today.

The Ngäti Awa settlement is the government's largest comprehensive historical Treaty of Waitangi settlement, finalising the iwi's historical Treaty claims. It is the first Bay of Plenty Treaty claims bill to be introduced to parliament. The second, implementing Tuwharetoa's settlement, will be introduced in upcoming months.

"Bay of Plenty iwi were significantly affected by Crown confiscation of land in the 19th century and the settlement with Ngäti Awa makes important progress in addressing historical grievances in the region," Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson said today.

"Ngäti Awa suffered confiscation of a significant part of their rohe and, eventually, became virtually landless.

"As New Zealanders, we can be proud that such grievances are being recognised, and settled peacefully. They strengthen the relationship between the Crown and Ngäti Awa and lay the foundations for us to build a strong and confident nation. The honour of the Crown is restored through Treaty settlements, and longstanding grievances put behind us."

Ngäti Awa, of the Mataatua waka, has approximately 18,000 members, and is centred in Whakatane in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. The settlement includes a Crown apology for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles; cultural redress including the transfer of seven sites of significance to Ngäti Awa; and a combination of cash and Crown-owned land of $42.39 million.

When passed the Ngäti Awa Claims Settlement Bill will provide for the transfer of settlement assets agreed in the 2003 Deed of Settlement, and finalise Ngäti Awa's historical Treaty of Waitangi claims. The bill will be referred to the Maori Affairs Committee for consideration. The committee will report back to the House by 1 December 2004.

ENDS

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