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Flavell: 'Bowen House' and Mana Whenua

Speech: Te Ururoa Flavell, Member of Parliament for Waiariki

Spokesperson for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

20 July 2006

The Maori Party is pleased to have the opportunity to talk to this Notion of Motion, particularly the additional premises associated with parts of Bowen House.

Most of this House would not be aware of the long association that Bowen House has had with the Crown.

I've found out it was named after Sir George Fergusson Bowen, Governor of New Zealand in 1867, and indeed the first Governor to assume office in the new capital of Wellington in 1868.

So the relationship of the building to the House of Parliament has a lengthy whakapapa.

The inevitable question we bring to this debate, is how the whakapapa specific to tangata whenua - and in this case, mana whenua - are included within the scope of this Notice of Motion.

The parliamentary record shows that it was Bowen who appointed two Maori representatives to the Legislative Council in 1870 - described as a sign of good will.

And it is with good will also that the Maori Party asks this House to consider the significance of the Bowen House site as a potential settlement asset.

Bowen House has a 27b Memorial Title on the full building through the claim before the Tribunal from the Wellington Tenths Trust.

Mr Speaker, the Maori Party comes to this debate, thinking of those tupuna of Te Atiawa, Ngati Tupaia, Taranaki and Ngati Tama who were resident around Te Whanganui a Tara (in the Wellington Harbour) in 1840.

Fifty years after the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Native Land Court determined there were 301 beneficial owners of the Tenths Reserve, the Maori reserve lands based largely in urban Wellington.

There are currently over 4500 beneficial owners descended from them.

The Maori Party considers that it is important to flag the interests of these owners, in any property which has a Memorial on the title - such as the additional premises and first floor of Bowen House included in the scope of this motion.

Mr Speaker, the Wellington Tenths Trust is a recognised iwi authority, and as such is in active consultation and partnership with city and regional Councils regarding development and long-term planning.

One such example of their working relationship is their active involvement in the Wellington City Council's Open Space Naming Policy which confirms the Council's commitment to ensuring traditional Maori names are used where appropriate.

Mr Speaker it was pointed out to me, that evidence of their expertise is right outside this very House in the small triangle of land on the corner of Molesworth Street and Lambton Quay. I would recommend that if you haven't already done so, you take a walk outside this chamber, to visit the magnificent pou whenua gifted by the Wellington Tenths Trust.

This site has a fascinating history.

In 2002 a member of the public asked the Wellington City Council to name this corner as ANZAC corner, as it had been the colloquial name for the site in the 1920s when the temporary cenotaph was placed there.

The Council approached the Tenths Trust who determined it should be named Wai-titi, meaning the place of shining waters. This name refers to its history as a beach front, where water seeping from Te Awa o Waipiro (Waipiro Stream) gave the sand a shining appearance.

The stream connected the two pa sites - Kumutoto and Pipitea.

The site is of great significance to iwi as it was a tauranga waka - a landing place for waka - and as such, it is a wähi tapu.

Topography suggests that this beach was a significant entry point to Tinakori, Kumutoto and to Te One-i-Haukawakawa.

In light of this history, in respect of its significance, the Wellington City Council rejected the suggestion to name the site as ANZAC corner, and instead it has become known as Wai-titi Park.

Mr Speaker, I take the time to track over this history because it will indicate to this House - our history as tangata whenua - and how it is so strongly linked to our history as parliamentarians.

The origins of the Wellington Tenths Trust pre-dates Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

It derives its source from the 1839 deed of purchase by the New Zealand Company which promised the chiefs of the Port Nicholson district that they would retain one tenth of the total land ceded by them to be held in trust for their heirs forever.

The Waitangi Tribunal has found that this Deed of Purchase was flawed. Indeed, their finding in 2003, is as follows:

"The Tribunal finds that the 1839 deed of purchase was invalid and conferred no rights under English or Maori law on the New Zealand Company or on those to whom the company subsequently purported to on-sell part of such land."

Mr Speaker, these are substantive issues. The report of the Waitangi Tribunal into the Wellington Inquiry District - "Te Whanganui a Tara me Ona Takiwa" - validates the history passed down through generations. It is a story which we must be all familiar with, before we make any decisions of memorialised properties or core Crown properties.

The Waitangi Tribunal found, through their Wellington inquiry, that the Crown had in fact breached the Treaty of Waitangi on at least seventy occasions. They also recommended that tangata whenua and Crown should enter negotiations to seek and settle historical claims. The Port Nicholson Block Claim is about the taking of Wellington land by various actions of past governments. Wellington Tenths seek, like all other iwi, a fair and equitable settlement, a settlement which honours their importance as mana whenua. Wellington Tenths is only able to negotiate for assets held by the Crown.

Properties such as the one currently under debate. If the properties are core Crown properties - such as no 3 the Terrace, they have also sought a first right of refusal in any negotiation.

They are not able to seek redress involving privately owned property - and indeed, their stated commitment is that they do not want to act in a manner which will be detrimental to the communities in which they live. We must never forget the history and the significance of tangata whenua.

The Maori Party stands here today to ensure that properties such as the Bowen House site, do not become further alienated from Maori. We recognise the Deed of Lease between Capital Properties and the Parliamentary Corporation as signed in 2001.

But we also recognise that any properties with a Memorial on the title are to be considered as part of any treaty settlements.

The Wellington Tenths Trust aspirations are that their interests in any memorialised properties or any core Crown properties are protected.

These are simple aspirations - to be heard, to be respected, to be recognised. The Maori Party is happy to take up their call.

Notice of Motion: Hon Dr Michael Cullen

"That pursuant to section 25 (1) of the Parliamentary Service Act 2000, this House adds the following premises to the parliamentary precincts:

* The parts of Bowen House, situated at the corner of Lambton Quay and Bowen Street, Wellington and described as 'additional premises' in the letter dated 24 December 2004, varying the Deed of Lease dated 14 December 2001 between Capital Properties (Kingsway) Ltd and the Parliamentary Corporation; and

* The area of the first floor of Bowen House contained in Certificate of Title 37A / 166, subject to a Deed of Extension and Variation of Lease signed and accepted on 30 November 1999 between Capital Properties (Kingsway) Ltd and Her Majesty the Queen acting by and through the Secretary for Internal Affairs; and

* The premises known as the House of Representatives 'ex-debating chamber' situated at levels sub-basement and sub-sub basement at

No 3 The Terrace, Wellington on land contained in Certificate of Title WN 41c/805 subject to a Memorandum of Lease B.263261.1 (Wellington Registry) dated 29 October 2004 between AMP NZ Office 1 The Terrace Ltd and the Parliamentary Corporation.

ENDS

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