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Kurahaupo iwi meet w Crown for Treaty negotiations

Kurahaupo iwi meet with Crown to begin Treaty negotiations

Minister in Charge of Treaty Negotiations Mark Burton met with three iwi from the northern South Island to begin Treaty settlement negotiations today.

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Minister in Charge of Treaty Negotiations Mark Burton met with three iwi from the northern South Island to begin Treaty settlement negotiations today.

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.

The Minister was welcomed at a powhiri hosted by the Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust at Omaka Marae near Blenheim. The Crown and the Kurahaupo Trust signed Terms of Negotiation, which set out the ground-rules for the negotiations, in June.

"Although we are only at the initial stages of negotiations, this meeting was important as it gave the Kurahaupo iwi the opportunity to directly discuss their historical grievances with me and my officials. The meeting helped set a positive foundation for us to move on to more detailed discussions," Mark Burton said.

"No discussions have taken place over redress at this stage, but these will begin shortly," 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.

Chairperson of the Kurahaupo Trust, Richard Bradley, said that this hui with the Minister and senior Crown officials is recognition that the claims of the Kurahaupo iwi; Ngâti Apa Ki Te Ra To, Ngâti Kuia and Rangitâne o Wairau have some validity.

"The Tribunal hearings gave us our day in court and we have received an acknowledgement from the Crown that our people experienced breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. We are now ready to commence negotiations with the Crown for a full, final and enduring settlement for the Kurahaupo iwi," said Richard Bradley.

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 Ra To, Ngâti Kuia and Rangitâne o Wairau in pre-1865 purchases of land. This impacted on the operation of the native land laws, including the exclusion of Ngâti Apa Ki Te Ra To, Ngâti Kuia and Rangitane from the Nelson and Motueka tenths. Their claims also relate to the Crown's failure to set aside adequate reserves and to ensure that the Kurahaupo iwi retained sufficient lands for their future needs.

"This hui should be seen as the culmination of a lot of hard work, sacrifice and compromises made by our old people to get us to this stage and provides a very public mandate of our willingness to put the past behind us and move into the future," Bradley added.

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.

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


ENDS

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