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Kurahaupo iwi begin Treaty negotiations with Crown

Kurahaupo iwi begin Treaty negotiations with Crown

The Crown and three iwi from the northern South Island have agreed to enter Treaty settlement negotiations. The three iwi: Ngâti Apa Ki Te Ra To, Ngâti Kuia and Rangitâne o Wairau, have come together to form the Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust for the purpose of the negotiations.

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The Crown and three iwi from the northern South Island have agreed to enter Treaty settlement negotiations. The three iwi: Ngâti Apa Ki Te Ra To, Ngâti Kuia and Rangitâne o Wairau, have come together to form the Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust for the purpose of the negotiations.

Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Mark Burton signed Terms of Negotiation, on behalf of the Crown, with representatives of the Kurahaupo Trust this week.

The Terms of Negotiation set out how the parties will negotiate a durable settlement of all of the historical claims of Ngâti Apa Ki Te Ra To, Ngâti Kuia and Rangitâne o Wairau. The negotiations will not cover any Ngâti Apa or Rangitâne claims that relate to the North Island, as these claims are being addressed separately.

"Beginning negotiations with the Kurahaupo Trust is a not just a significant milestone for the Crown and the three iwi the Kurahaupo Trust represents, but also for the Treaty settlement process generally," Mark Burton said.

"I commend the commitment and determination of the Kurahaupo Trust in bringing Ngâti Apa Ki Te Ra To, Ngâti Kuia and Rangitâne o Wairau together so they can enter these important negotiations," he said.

These will be the first settlement negotiations relating to the South Island since Ngai Tahu settled with the Crown in 1997, and will set the scene for settling the claims of other iwi in the northern South Island.

"I look forward to working through the issues with Kurahaupo Trust to comprehensively settle the grievances of all three iwi so the Crown and iwi can move forward together," Mark Burton said.

Chairperson of the Kurahaupo Trust, Richard Bradley, said he is pleased that the unity displayed by the three iwi in putting their differences aside to work cooperatively has paid off. The Crown recognised the mandate of the Kurahaupo Trust to enter negotiations last November, and Mr Bradley believes the commencement of negotiations after such a short period of time to be recognition of the leadership displayed by the Kurahaupo iwi.

"This is an opportunity for our three iwi to reflect on what has been achieved over the past two years, and provides an assurance to the local community that their support has been a contributor to achievements gained by Kurahaupo Trust in such a short time," Mr Bradley said.

The combined tribal area of the three Kurahaupo iwi covers the entire top of the South Island. The historical claims of the Kurahaupo iwi primarily relate to the failure of the Crown to adequately recognise the customary rights of Ngâti Apa Ki Te Rato, Ngâti Kuia and Rangitâne o Wairau through the operation of native land laws, including their exclusion from the Nelson and Motueka tenths.

The Waitangi Tribunal has heard the claims of the three Kurahaupo iwi along with those of other iwi in the northern South Island, and is due to release its report later this year.

Mr Bradley hopes that negotiations proceed quickly through to the next stage of the Treaty settlement process. "These are matters for Ngâti Apa, Ngâti Kuia and Rangitâne that have been outstanding since 1856 and I don't anticipate that the settlement negotiations should take that long," he added.

"New Zealanders can be proud that such grievances are being recognised and addressed in such a peaceful and constructive way," Mark Burton said. "This week's signing further illustrates the growing momentum by both the Crown and iwi to address historical grievances so that we can move forward together."

Currently, the Government is in negotiations with over 20 groups, covering several hundred claims.


ENDS

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