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Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi Claims Settlement Bill - Speech

Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi Claims Settlement Bill

First step to settling Nga Rauru Kitahi claims begins in parliament

Mr Speaker, I stand to tautoko, to support the Ngaa Rauru Claims Settlement Bill.

Mr Speaker, Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi have longstanding claims against the Crown. This Bill will end those claims, and provide a platform upon which Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi and the Crown can build a relationship of mutual trust and cooperation.

Mr Speaker, the history of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi is filled with regrettable actions by the Crown in the nineteenth century. These actions contributed to the dismantling of Ngaa Raurutanga, and resulted in:

· Much loss of life and property for Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi during the Taranaki wars, including the lives of unarmed children killed by government militia at Handley's Woolshed in an unprovoked attack;

And

· The virtual landlessness of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi.

In 1865, the Crown confiscated a third of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi land under the powers of the New Zealand Settlements Act of 1863. The confiscation was indiscriminate in extent and application. Land was taken from those who were loyal to the Crown as well as from those deemed "rebels". In response to the confiscations, Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi supported acts of passive resistance. In 1881, the Crown invaded Parihaka with more than 1500 armed troops. Men, women, and children were expelled from the settlement, their leaders were imprisoned, crops were burned, and homes destroyed.

This Bill records that the confiscation of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi land was wrongful and in reach of the Treaty. It also records that elements of the Crown's purchase of the large Waitotara block was in breach of the Treaty.

The Bill acknowledges that the West Coast Commissions set up in 1880 to inquire into confiscated lands were inadequate in their scope, and did not fully address the injustices suffered by Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi. In fact, these Commissions compounded the prejudice suffered by Maori in Taranaki arising from earlier confiscations. The land returned through the West Coast Commissions process were then vested in the Public Trustee and leased in perpetuity, or sold.

Mr Speaker, the acknowledgement by the Crown of the injustices suffered by Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi is long overdue. I therefore commend this government for introducing a Bill to this House that contains a formal apology to nga tupuna o Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, and to nga uki o Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi for the breaches of the Treaty acknowledged by the Crown.

Mr Speaker, in this Bill the Crown unreservedly apologises to Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi for its actions which have caused hardship and suffering to Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi to the present day.

This Bill records that Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi have pursued their claims for redress and compensation from the Crown with vigour and fortitude over the past 150 years.

I join my colleague, Hon Mark Burton, in commending the individual kaumatua, members, and negotiators of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi who have demonstrated commitment, leadership, courage, and integrity in achieving a settlement of the claims of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi.

I say courage because it is a huge responsibility for this generation of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi to end the pursuit of their claims and accept redress, which we all know, is less than the total loss they suffered.

Mr Speaker, this final and comprehensive settlement is an important milestone for Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi and for the Crown. The settlement redress will provide Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi with resources to assist them in revitalising their Ngaa Raurutanga.

This settlement will assist the Crown to restore its honour and assist both parties to move forward together as Treaty partners.

Mr Speaker, I am encouraged by the fact that, in negotiating their settlement, Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi expressed a desire to establish a forum to provide for an on-going relationship with the Crown. This has been done through the establishment of a paepae rangatira, a chief-to-chief forum. This forum will assist in contributing to the development of an on-going and positive Treaty relationship.

Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi has established a new governance entity, "Te Kaahui o Rauru", to represent all twelve marae of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi. The Trustees have pledged to uphold, and be guided by, Manaakitanga, Rangatiratanga, Whanaungatanga, Kotahitanga, Wairuatanga, Mana Whenua, Kaitiakitanga,

Whakapapa, Te Reo, and Matauranga. Their vision is to live as Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, to enjoy good health and a quality lifestyle, to foster unity, and to enable their people to embrace their Ngaa Rauru Kiitahitanga.

I offer my best wishes to Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi for their future. Mr Speaker, I support my colleague, Hon Mark Burton in commending this Bill to the House.

ENDS


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