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Wellington Treaty settlement takes major step

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

26 June 2008 Media Statement
Embargoed until 5pm

Wellington Treaty settlement takes major step

In a ceremony held at Parliament today, the Port Nicholson Block Claims Team initialled a Deed of Settlement with the Crown, covering all the historical Treaty claims of Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen said.

Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika is a collective that comprises people from a number of Taranaki iwi whose ancestors migrated to Wellington in the 1820s and 30s and signed the Port Nicholson Block Deed of Purchase in 1839.

The settlement package includes:

• an historical account, Crown acknowledgements of historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles, a Crown apology, and an innovation, a Statement of forgiveness from Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika to the Crown;

• a cultural redress package featuring the transfer of a number of sites of cultural significance to Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, including the three islands in Wellington Harbour, with public access rights preserved; and

• a quantum of $25.025 million, as well as the opportunity to purchase a number of Crown properties in Wellington city and the surrounding region.

"The initialling of this historic document marks a significant achievement for Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and the Crown," Dr Cullen said.

"While the Deed of Settlement cannot be signed until it is ratified by the Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika claimant community over the following month, the initialled Deed represents an important achievement towards the settling of this claim.

“The progress of the Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika settlement from a signed Agreement in Principle to an initialled Deed of Settlement within six months represents an unprecedented timeframe. I wish to congratulate Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, and the Port Nicholson Block Claims Team, in reaching this historic milestone and I thank all parties for their incredible work in achieving such rapid progress.”

If the Deed of Settlement is ratified, it will be signed by both parties and implemented through legislation, following the establishment of a governance entity to receive the settlement redress.

Attached: Background information on the Deed of Settlement

ENDS

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