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Cullen: Signing of Agreement with Turanga


Michael Cullen

29 August, 2008
Address at signing of Agreement in Principle with Turanga

Speech notes prepared for delivery at Mangatu marae, Whatatutu

Thank you all for your warm welcome here today for the signing of the Agreement in Principle.

This is an important day, not only for those of us gathered here today, but for those who have gone before us and those who will follow in our footsteps.

I would like to acknowledge the people of Mangatū Marae, and all of you here today, especially those who have travelled from across the East Coast and from as far as Wellington and other parts of the country to take part in this important occasion.

The signing of the Agreement in Principle today is a major milestone for Tūranganui-a-Kiwa, for the Crown, and for the relationship between us.

The Agreement in Principle
I am delighted to be here with my colleagues the Minister of Māori Affairs and the Associate Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, to sign the Agreement in Principle with Tūranga.

The Agreement in Principle is the culmination of the dedication and commitment of the Crown and Tūranga to reaching a settlement, the leadership and support of the negotiators, the mandated bodies and their staff, as well as the support of the iwi, hapū and whānau of Tūranga who have, as part of this process, made some significant decisions that will have a major influence on the future of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa.

I particularly wish to recognise the members of Tūranga Manu Whiriwhiri, who have come together to front this phase of the negotiations on your behalf. I have no doubt that the clarity, drive and determination with which they have negotiated this settlement package has only been possible through the hard work and support of their respective iwi, hapū and whānau groups, and of the people of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa. It is because of this support that we are all gathered here today.

I think it is important to recognise that the way in which Tūranga and the Crown have reached this Agreement in Principle has been unique in the history of Treaty Settlement negotiations. You have come together not as a single iwi, but as a collective of neighbouring claimant groups, each separate and independent, but all with a common interest in moving your claims forward. This approach has not always been easy, and has required flexibility and a will to innovate on the part of both Tūranga and the Crown. But I think the fact that we are standing here today tells me that this new, collective approach has been a successful one.

Over recent months, iwi from the Far North right through to the South Island have made a great deal of progress in Treaty Settlements. And as they have enjoyed that progress we have seen a calm, mature discussion of our nation’s history and the significant place of injustice in our national narrative. The news of success in Treaty Settlements has not been greeted with a backlash or by petty political opportunism.

I think it is also fair to say that the great majority of New Zealanders have taken pride in being able to celebrate the progress in settlement as well. The efforts to create renewed division between Maori and Pakeha that seemed a serious threat just four years ago have been held at bay.

But even as we celebrate collective progress for Maori, we must be careful not to lose sight of the individual histories that are so important.

Your history is one of great resilience, strength, and pride. But it is also a tragic history; a history of state violence, confiscation of land, and stigmatisation within your own communities.

As the result of Crown action your people have at times suffered poverty, famine and significant hardship. This history was vividly explained when the iwi, hapū and whanau of the Tūranga region came together at the Waitangi Tribunal hearings in 2001 and 2002.

Those who attended the hearings heard a story of both harrowing loss and strength in the face of adversity. They heard how, as a result of the Crown’s actions, Tūranganui-a-Kiwa suffered the loss of much of their lands, and considerable loss of life. They heard especially of the Crown’s 1865 attack on Waerenga a Hika pa, the subsequent detention without trial of more than a hundred Tūranga Māori on the Chatham Islands for over two years, and the execution of unarmed prisoners by Crown forces at Nga Tapa, which the Waitangi Tribunal’s Tūranga report described as “a stain upon the history of this country”, one that it was long past time for it to be put right.

But the hearings also showed how your people have fought throughout to hold on to your land, your language and your culture. In coming together collectively for the first time as part of the Tribunal’s new regional approach, your people showed a pioneering spirit of co-operation that has continued into the negotiation of this Agreement in Principle.
In summary, you are a people who have suffered significant injustice. But you are also a people who have in the face of that injustice strengthened your culture and kept moving forward together.

Today we take a new step forward, and present to the iwi, hapū and whanau of Tūranga and to the public of New Zealand, a settlement package that I believe meets the interests of all.

Settlement package
The Agreement in Principle is a non-binding document that outlines the Crown’s proposed redress package to Tūranga that will be used as a basis for a Deed of Settlement.

The Crown acknowledges that this settlement can never fully compensate for the loss and prejudice Tūranga have suffered. However, due in no small part to the pragmatic and dedicated approach taken by your negotiators, we have agreed a package that includes:

• an historical account of the relationship between the Crown and the iwi, hapū and whanau of Tūranga and the events that gave rise to the breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. This document, together with the Crown acknowledgments of its breaches of the Treaty, is an important step in restoring the Crown’s relationship with Tūranganui-a-Kiwa and the honour of the Crown. I want to acknowledge the considerable amount of effort that your negotiators have put into discussing and negotiating the text of the historical account, particularly over the past few days. There is already a great deal of consensus between the Crown and Tūranga on many aspects of our shared history, and both parties are committed to continue working together in the spirit of compromise to resolve those areas where we disagree;
• a quantum of $59 million which can be used to purchase licensed Crown forest land, along with the accumulated rentals associated with this land. The Crown has also offered to gift 16 properties from the Office of Treaty Settlements’ Gisborne landbank to Tūranganui-a-Kiwa. In addition, you will have the opportunity to purchase, within two years, 18 further Crown-owned properties;
• the return of a number of wāhi tapu sites, including Young Nick’s Head Historic Reserve, to allow for the restoration of your manawhenua and reconnection with the lands and waterways throughout your rohe; and
• the proposed gifting of two Gisborne District Council properties in central Gisborne, in recognition of longstanding grievances regarding land transactions over those sites.

The package also includes redress that focuses on cultural revitalisation which aims to address Tūranga’s cultural relief framework expressed through Popo (paw paw).

This redress provides for:

• recognition of ownership and kaitiakitanga of Te Hau ki Tūranga, the carved meeting house currently held by Te Papa Tongarewa/Museum of New Zealand;
• $1 million for the preparation and implementation of a cultural revitalisation plan;
• the gifting of 6 further properties from the Office of Treaty Settlements’ Gisborne landbank for use as a cultural base by the constituent groups of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa; and
• $100,000 for a memorial to those Tūranga Māori who lost their lives as a result of past Crown actions.

Acknowledgements
This signing of the Agreement in Principle is a significant milestone for both Tūranga and the Crown. It is the culmination of a number of years of hard work by many of your people, including the numerous hours of preparation for, and attendance at, the Waitangi Tribunal hearings, and the intense period of negotiation over the last twelve months.

Engagement in the settlement process requires a tremendous amount of commitment and courage and involves some difficult trade-offs to be made both personally and professionally by those who are intimately involved. I wish to pay tribute to the leadership of your negotiators, who came together to form Tūranga Manu Whiriwhiri. You have all worked tirelessly to bring Tūranga to this historic point.

I also wish to acknowledge my colleagues, the Associate Minister, Hon Mita Ririnui, Hon Parekura Horomia and the Minister of Conservation for their support, and all the Crown officials who have contributed to this significant achievement. I want to especially acknowledge the assistance that the Crown Forestry Rental Trust has offered to the iwi, hapū and whanau of Tūranga, both during the mandating process and in negotiations to date. I also want to thank the Mayor of Gisborne, and the Councillors and Chief Executive of the Gisborne District Council, who have shown tremendous support for these negotiations.

Next steps
The next step for Tūranga and the Crown is to translate the Agreement in Principle into a draft Deed of Settlement, for ratification by the iwi. Now that the proposed settlement package has been made public, both parties will embark on a process of consultation. Particular focus during this time will be on the resolution of overlapping interests of neighbouring iwi. The Agreement in Principle was developed with these interests in mind, and much work has already been done.
Given the seriousness of these issues, discussions will take time. But both parties are committed to achieving a Deed of Settlement within a year of this signing, which is an ambitious, but achievable task ahead of us.

Conclusion
I thank you all again for welcoming us here in such large numbers today. I am honoured to be here today on behalf of the Crown to sign this Agreement in Principle with Tūranga.
No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou kātoa.

ENDS

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