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Cullen: Port Nicholson Block Settlement Bill

Michael Cullen

25 September, 2008
Port Nicholson Block (Taranaki Whānui Ki Te Upoko o Te Ika) Claims Settlement Bill

Speech notes

I move, That the Taranaki Whānui Ki Te Upoko O Te Ika Claims Settlement Bill be now read a first time. At the appropriate time I intend to move that the Taranaki Whānui Ki Te Upoko O Te Ika Claims Settlement Bill be considered by the Māori Affairs Committee.

I am very pleased to present this Bill to the House.

It is a signal of the commitment which this government has given to righting the wrongs of the past.

It draws a line under our past and allows us to develop new relationships and address new opportunities – as Maori and pakeha, as New Zealanders.

Like all Treaty of Waitangi Settlements, the settlement between the Crown and Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika is an historic occasion.

The Crown is finally acknowledging and apologising for the historical injustices visited on Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and confirming appropriate redress.

The Settlement draws a line under the past which we should not forget and from which we must learn It provides all parties with an opportunity to form new and positive relationships for the future.

Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika comprises people from Taranaki iwi, including Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Ngāti Tama, and Ngāti Ruanui who descend from:

• signatories of the 27 September 1839 Port Nicholson Block purchase;
• ancestors listed in the Schedule to the Declaration of the Native Land Court in Wellington dated 11 April 1888; and/or
• ancestors who exercised customary rights in the Port Nicholson Block on or after 6 February 1840 by virtue of being descended from one or more of the named iwi in this Settlement.

The settlement covers the area of the Port Nicholson Block which is an area of approximately 271,000 hectares, spanning the Wellington, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt areas.

The claims of Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika were lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal from 1987 onwards. The Waitangi Tribunal reported its findings on the Wellington District in 2003.

The Crown recognised the mandate of the Port Nicholson Block Claims Team to negotiate the settlement of the historical claims of Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika in January 2004. Terms of negotiation were signed with the Crown in mid-2004, followed by an Agreement in Principle in December 2007 and an initialed Deed of Settlement in June 2008.

During June and July this year the Port Nicholson Block Claims Team undertook a ratification process for the Deed of Settlement and the pos-governance entity. 30.7% of the registered adult members of Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika validly voted on the Deed of Settlement. Of these, 98.6% voted in favour of the accepting the Deed of Settlement.

30.7% of eligible voters validly voted on the proposed post-settlement governance arrangements , with 96.2% of whom voting in favour of the new governance entity - the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust.

On the strength of this support the Crown and Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust signed a Deed of Settlement in Wellington on the 19 August 2008. The Crown is satisfied that the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust
provides the appropriate governance arrangements for the transfer of
redress under the deed of settlement.

The grievances to which this Settlement relate to stem largely but not solely from the Crown’s role in the sale of land within the Port Nicholson Block. In September 1839, the New Zealand Company, a private land-settlement company, sought to purchase land in Wellington Harbour and its environs from Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika. Before the arrival of its representatives in New Zealand, the Company had already sold nearly 100,000 acres in the Port Nicholson area to prospective settlers and held a lottery in London to allocate the land to them.

The Company’s representatives negotiated the “Port Nicholson Deed”, signed on 27 September 1839, with Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika in an attempt to purchase a large district at Port Nicholson and its environs. This became known as the Port Nicholson Block.

The 1839 Deed was later found to be seriously flawed by a Crown-appointed Land Claims Commissioner. In 1841, the Crown assumed ownership of the harbour islands despite the Deed’s flaws and also proclaimed the Wellington town belt a public reserve without compensation.

The 1839 Deed provided that a tenth portion of the land conveyed by it would be reserved for Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika. The Company intended that some of these tenths reserves be occupation reserves, while the remaining tenths reserves would provide an endowment fund.

Despite the initial findings of the Land Claims Commissioner, the Crown established a process by which the Company could validate its 1839 purchase. In return for payment of £1500, negotiated between the Company and a Crown representative, Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika signed several Deeds of Release in early 1844, so that the Company could complete its purchase. It was uncertain, however, how much land had been transacted by these Deeds of Release.

The Crown subsequently treated all of the land in the district covered by the 1839 Deed as if Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika title to it had been extinguished by the Deeds of Release.

In order to finally secure the lands for the Company, the Crown instructed Colonel McCleverty, in 1846 to find Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika alternative lands in exchange for their reserve lands around Wellington harbour. As a result of these exchanges, many Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika were pressured to move from their traditional lands to lands that proved inadequate to sustain their way of life.

Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika had no role in the administration of their remaining tenths reserves until 1985. There were long delays in establishing proper administration for the Wellington tenths reserves, including delays in the passing of legislation to establish an administration and in determining the list of beneficiaries.

The Crown-appointed trustee also appropriated tenths reserve land for public purposes. Much of the tenths reserve land was alienated under the Crown-appointed trustees’ administration.

In order to generate income from the reserves, the Crown-appointed trustee established a regime of perpetual leases. Over time the effects of inflation reduced rental returns and disadvantaged Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika owners.

As another consequence of settlement, Wellington harbour, an important food and trade resource for Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, was adversely affected by the pollution and sewage generated by urban and industrial development, as well as reclamations around the harbour.

There is much for the Crown to apologise for. The Crown’s apology recognises that the Crown’s breached obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles including:

• the Crown’s failure to consistently protect Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika’s interests during the process by which the Crown and its agents acquired the interests of Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika in the Port Nicholson block;
• the compulsory acquisition and endowment of their lands for public purposes; and
• the certain acts and omissions in relation to the delay in implementing legislation and administration of their reserves.

The Crown acknowledges that the cumulative effect of the Crown breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles significantly undermined the tino rangatiratanga of Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, and that this impacted on their economic and social development.

As part of the Settlement and in response to the Crown apology, Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o te Ika have very generously provided a statement of forgiveness to the Crown. The Statement of Forgiveness forgives the Crown for those matters for which the Crown is apologising.

This is the first time this has occurred in a Treaty Settlement. Given the history which I have just recounted I was very moved to receive the statement. I would personally like to thank Sir Paul Reeves for his initiative and drafting of the Statement of Forgiveness, as well as thanking Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika as a whole for this generous act.

The Crown will recognise the traditional, historical, cultural and spiritual association of Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika with the vesting of eighteen sites in Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika.

These include:

• The three Wellington Harbour islands;

• The beds of the Pencarrow Lakes and two associated esplanade reserves;

• Three other sites in Upper Hutt, the Petone foreshore and Seatoun.

The Bill provides that the existing reserve status will be maintained, except for the Pencarrow lakebeds and esplanade reserves, which will instead have a conservation covenant on their title. The sites’ natural values will be protected, and public access to the sites as currently provided for will be retained, as well as existing third party rights.

In addition, the Bill provides for the establishment of a Harbour Islands Kaitiaki Board to administer the Harbour Islands. The Board will consist of an equal number of representatives from both the Department of Conservation, who will continue to carry out the day to day management of the islands, and Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika.

Other sites that will be vested in Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika are:

• The land under the Pipitea Marae, subject to an arrangement with the existing lessees, the Ngâti Poneke Mâori Association;
• Two Crown-owned properties in central Wellington and one in Waiwhetu;
• The former Wainuiomata College, the former Wainuiomata Intermediate School, and the former Waiwhetu Primary School; and
• An urupâ site at Makara and two dendroglyph areas near the Pencarrow Lakes.

There are to be Statutory Acknowledgements over thirteen sites in the Port Nicholson Block area.

Statutory Acknowledgements register the special cultural association Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika has with a particular area.

The Statutory Acknowledgements will require consent authorities to provide Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika with summaries of all resource consent applications under the Resource Management Act that may affect the areas named in the acknowledgements.

A Deed of Recognition will cover the Rimutaka Forest Park, Wainuiomata Scenic Reserve, and Turakirae Head Scientific Reserve.

The Deed of Recognition will oblige the Crown to consult with Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and have regard to their views regarding the special association Taranaki Whânui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika have with a site.

Deeds of Recognition are non-exclusive redress, meaning more than one iwi can have a Deed of Recognition over the same site.

Eight place names in the Wellington area will be changed by the Bill. These name changes have all been approved by the New Zealand Geographic Board.

In the spirit of partnership and in recognition of the social and economic advances that Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika have mapped out for themselves the Deed of Settlement provides for a number of relationship instruments.

A Whole of Government relationship will involve the Crown in assisting Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika to reach social, economic, and cultural goals by facilitating access to government services and work programmes.

Protocols with government agencies, as well as letters of introduction to CentrePort Limited and Wellington International Airport Ltd will strengthen key relationships.

The financial and commercial redress recognises the economic loss suffered by Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika arising from breaches by the Crown of its Treaty obligations.

Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika will receive a financial settlement of $25.025 million plus interest, minus money previously paid on account.

Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika will have the right to purchase specific properties in the Wellington and Lower Hutt areas, including the former naval station at Shelly Bay.

Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika will have the opportunity to purchase the land under certain properties in Wellington City and Lower Hutt and lease that land back to the Crown for as long as the Crown requires it.

Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika will have, for a period of 100 years, a right of first refusal to purchase specified land owned by the Crown and certain Crown entities and State-owned enterprises when such land becomes surplus.

Madam Speaker, the negotiations to reach this point have been long and difficult. The Port Nicholson Block Claims Team, led by Professor Ngātata Love, have brought to the table a collective representing more than 16,000 members whose affiliations span at least four iwi.

This itself is a huge achievement and underscores the desire by Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika to conclude a comprehensive settlement.

The Port Nicholson Block claim area overlaps with a number of other iwi who have been consulted over the last six months. Some redress was altered as a result I would like to acknowledge these iwi who are waiting to either commence or conclude their own negotiations with the Crown and the Port Nicholson Block Claims Team for their response to questions raised during this process.

The Port Nicholson Block Claims Team has foreseen the opportunities for social, cultural and economic development that this settlement will bring to Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika. This settlement bodes well for the people of Wellington. It will unlock new development opportunities and foster stronger relationships.

I have done so already, but have no hesitation in doing so again, and asking the House to join me in thanking the people who made this happen. I would like to thank Professor Ngatata Love and all the members of the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust. I would also like to acknowledge Mr Brian Roche, the Crown Negotiator and officials at the Office of Treaty Settlements for their tireless dedication to negotiating this Settlement.

I consider that the bill should therefore proceed without delay to the Māori Affairs Committee. I commend the bill to the House.


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