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Flavell: Port Nicholson Block Taranaki Whanui Bill

Port Nicholson Block – Taranaki Whanui ki te Upoko o te Ika Claims Settlement Bill 2008

Te Ururoa Flavell, Member of Parliament for Waiariki

Thursday 25 September 2008; 2.30pm

Kia ora koutou katoa

It is a rare day, when every Member of this House can acknowledge a special association to a Treaty Settlement.

Today is that day, when all of us honour the descendants of Taranaki whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, for their generosity in allowing us to work in their rohe.

We honour the presence of the uri of Taranaki iwi who migrated here to Te Whanganui a Tara in the 1820s, establishing settlements around the Harbour, Kaiwharawhara, Waiwhetu and Te Aro Pa.

We acknowledge you all – Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Ngati Tama, Ngati Ruanui, Ngati Mutunga – those who descend from the ancestors of Taranaki Whanui ki te Upoko o Te Ika.

For the uninformed, Madam Speaker, some might ask how the heck the name “Taranaki” ends up in a bill about Wellington land. Similarly, many would not know that Taranaki tüturu is actually one of the many tribes of Taranaki.

This is the history, a Maori history of migration. So to my inlaws and koeke of my Puniho and Parihaka children, tena koutou katoa, kia ora tatou.

Madam Speaker, the Maori Party as we say is unique in this Parliament, for having kaupapa Maori drive us as our philosophical base.

So it is with much pleasure that we note the Port Nicholson Block claims also live by kaupapa which has paved the way for this significant day. I want to share with this House, the kaupapa that they adhere to, in their commitment to ensure that the settlement benefits are shared by all who are entitled to them.

That kaupapa is:

Together we arrived

Together we lived

Together we survived

Together we go forward

And together we will succeed.

Madam Speaker, we believe this kaupapa provides an impressive foundation for a future; a foundation which validates the history passed down through generations; a foundation for success.

Today is a critical point in the lives of generations to come.

Taranaki whanui have mobilised all of their people to rebuild.

These are people who have suffered the loss of connections to their harbour, forests, waterways and natural resources within the Port Nicholson Block.

The ultimate offence has its beginnings in the 1839 Deed of Purchase – the document that the Waitangi Tribunal later found to be invalid.

It is somewhat overwhelming to think what we are doing today, is to attempt to make right the wrong committed almost 169 years to the day.

Madam Speaker, the 1839 Deed, written in a draft, signed on 27 September 1839; but written only in English, assumed ownership of the Wellington Harbour and its environs; without even including a map of the boundaries.

Before the New Zealand Company had even set foot in Aotearoa they had sold nearly 100,000 acres of the Port Nicholson area to prospective settlers through a grand lottery in London for goodness sake.

The 1839 Deed of Purchase reappropriated the whole of Wellington City and its suburbs, including Lower and Upper Hutt and Wainuiomata.

Wellington City is of course the seat of Government, an area of major population, the place of our most important ports; a business hub.

It is also a place in which the rugged hills and lack of flat land, mark out this space as one in which the whenua has acquired a great financial value.

Madam Speaker, I understand that it was twenty one years ago, two men submitted a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, Makere Rangiatea Ralph Love and Ralph Heberley Ngatata Love. Ka mihi ki a raua.

That claim was on behalf of the beneficiaries of the Taranaki Maori Trust Board, the Wellington Tenths Trust and the Palmerston North Reserves Trust, together with Nga Iwi o Taranaki.

The claim was made on the following grounds:

• the Crown’s failure to ensure that one-tenth of the Port Nicholson block was reserved as provided for in the 1839 deed of purchase for Port Nicholson;

• the exchange of reserve land in Port Nicholson for land of lesser value in Palmerston North;

• the taking of Wellington tenths reserve land for endowments;

• and

• the leasing in perpetuity of Wellington tenths and Palmerston North reserve land.

And so today, Madam Speaker, we honour all those of Taranaki whanui for your perseverance in putting on the table, claims relating to the action of the New Zealand Company; the theft by the Crown of Maori reserved lands; and the failure of the Crown to provide an adequate land base for Maori.

You have put on the table also the impact of the regime of perpetual leases, the damage and devastation of the pollution and sewage of urban development, the reclamations around the harbour to provide land for public purposes.

This is a day too, to acknowledge and congratulate Taranaki whanui, and a very impressive claims team comprising Professor Ngatata Love, Sir Paul Reeves, Neville Baker, Kara Puketapu, June Jackson, Liz Mellish, Mark Te One, Dawn McConnell, Dr Catherine Love, Spencer Carr and Kevin Amohia. Now that there is a team!

You have told your story, a story which has been 21 years in the drafting but decades and generations in the creation.

It is a story in which many of the main characters have now passed on and are no longer with us. We remember them.

E hoa ma, you have done well.

The settlement has a quantum of 25 million dollars, as well as the opportunity to purchase a number of Crown properties in Wellington City and the region. A portfolio estimated to be worth up to 120 million dollars of Crown owned land.

There is a significant cultural redress package recognising your key sites of tribal meaning, including the three islands in Wellington Harbour.

The lakebeds of Kohangatera and Kohangapiripiri at Parangarahu are included; and reserve lands such as Wi Tako Scenic Reserve.

But there are some other unique aspects of this settlement I want to bring to the House.

This settlement is unique in that it introduces the concept of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a concept which we understand as tangata whenua. It is an essential component of reciprocity.

In the act of forgiveness, there are two players – those who extend the spirit of forgiveness; and those who are forgiven.

The difficulty in this case, is that while the persons who are doing the forgiving are here in flesh and form; the Crown is a lifeless object – an entity bereft of emotion.

Will it weep? Will it wail? Will it cry?

This is a tremendous gesture, Madam Speaker, on the part of Taranaki Whanui who has offered a Statement of Forgiveness to the Crown.

The Maori Party commends you, for an act of honour and great integrity; Taranaki Whanui, an act which demonstrates the ultimate expression of manaakitanga.

There are other elements of innovation I want to note.

The initiative to use an E-voting system including internet voting was very impressive. Some fifteen percent of their voters chose to vote online, which is something that this House may well consider worthy of looking at in more depth, for other voting processes.

The commitment to ensuring the ratification process encompassed not just those living in this rohe, but also whanau living across the Tasman in Sydney and Brisbane.

The speed of the ratification process and the process from a signed Agreement in Principle to an initialled Deed of Settlement within six months, is also as I understand it, pretty unprecedented.

In fact the rumour is, that there were members here today who were hoping urgency might be extended to allow Taranaki Whanui to complete all of the stages in the course of this great day.

Taranaki Whanui - we in the Maori Party recognise your achievement today : together you have survived; together you will go forward; together you will succeed.

Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou.


ENDS

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