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Sharples: Ngati Manawa & Ngati Whare Claims Settlement Bill

Ngati Manawa & Ngati Whare Claims Settlement Bill

Mr Speaker
I move that the Ngati Manawa and Ngati Whare Claims Settlement Bill be now read a third time.
This legislation brings together the Treaty of Waitangi claims of the descendants of Apa-Hapai-Taketake, Tangiharuru and Toi Te Huatahi.
These are the peoples of the Kuhawaea and Kaingaroa Plains, the Rangitaiki and Whirinaki rivers, the lands of Te Whaiti and Minginui, Te Whirinaki te Pua A Tane, Urewera lands in the east, the mountains Tawhiuau and Tuwatawata.
I welcome the descendants of Ngati Manawa and Ngati Whare to this house.
Two peoples eternally bound by whakapapa, forever bound by history and today in this house, finally bound by justice.

Ko Tawhiuau te maunga
Ko Rangitaiki te awa
Ko Rangipo te wehenga o te tuna
Ko Ngati Manawa te iwi

The late Ngati Manawa rangatira Bill Bird was at Rangitahi Marae with his people when I had the privilege of representing the Crown at the tribe’s signing of their deed of settlement, back in December 2009.

Bill was a leader, a visionary but importantly, Bill was a realist.

“We’ve got to get real. The problem is real so the solution has to be real,” he once told a reporter.

Throughout Ngati Manawa’s many years of negotiations with the Crown, Bill and many others including the late, Denise Howden made sure the Crown got real.

Ngati Manawa leaders urged their people to stay focused and most importantly to stick together:

“Ngati Manawa, Me noho totara pakaua tatau, kaua e noho totara waahi rua”
“Ngati Manawa, United we stand, Divided we fall”

Bill spoke of how he wanted his people to get out of grievance mode and into iwi dependency mode. He also spoke of how hard this would be while the sins of the Crown had not been identified.

The Crown’s sins against Ngati Manawa people have taken many forms, were perpetrated over many years and remain etched into the lives of generations of the people of Tangiharuru.

Ngati Manawa’s claims relate to the region around Murupara and the Kaingaroa Plains in the central Bay of Plenty. Their claims relate to the consequences of Crown actions during the New Zealand Wars, Crown actions and omissions with regards the Native Land laws and Crown land purchasing techniques.

The Crown recognises Ngati Manawa’s traditional, historical, cultural and spiritual interests and seeks to strengthen these bonds through the vesting of sites of particular significance; cultural redress and first right of refusal to purchase certain commercial properties. Significantly today marks the gifting of the ancestral mountain Tawhiuau to the people of Ngati Manawa.

An inland iwi, Ngati Manawa’s destiny has been forever linked with their waterways, their ancestral river. The Crown’s takeover of the Rangitaiki and other rivers began in the late nineteenth century. Large parts of New Zealand were soon powered by three hydroelectric dams located throughout the region – however while New Zealand benefited, Ngati Manawa suffered. They suffered the comprehensive loss of their ancestral river, the destruction of their primary food source, the demise of their cultural and economic asset base.

Today’s legislation will see the creation of a body to restore Ngati Manawa and Ngati Whare mana over the Rangitaiki and other waterways. They will by law take part in a management regime that will seek to restore and protect their ancestral waters.
The Rangitaiki River Forum will be comprised of equal iwi and council representatives in order to protect and enhance the health and wellbeing of the Rangitaiki River catchment and its tributaries. This shared redress is a model for future relationships between iwi Maori and the Crown.

“Ko au ko te Whirinaki, ko te Whirinaki ko au”
“I am the Whirinaki, the Whirinaki is me”
Mr Speaker, the people of Ngati Whare’s kaitiaki bond to Te Whirinaki Te Pua A Tane spans generations and has endured the challenges of land alienation, disenfranchisement, industrial expansion and environmental destruction. In recent years the rest of the world have discovered something Ngati Whare people have always known: that the Whirinaki is a unique taonga, found nowhere else on earth. Alikened by international conservationists to a living cathedral, the Whirinaki is one of the planets last prehistoric rainforests. Of enormous cultural and spiritual value to Ngati Whare, the Whirinaki contains numerous wahi tapu and sites of significance.
Mr Speaker, after years of negotiations, today the Crown and Ngati Whare are breaking new ground regarding the settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims. Their co-governance plan for Te Whirinaki te Pua A Tane Forest Park is another model for future negotiations. Included in this unique arrangement is Crown assistance to enable Ngati Whare to regenerate indigenous Matai, Rimu and Kahikatea in areas of pine forest within Whirinaki Crown Forest Licensed Land.
Mr Speaker, the claims of Ngati Whare also relate to the Crown’s shameful actions against their members during the New Zealand Wars. Actions that have resonated through generations of families, over one hundred and forty four years. The storming of Te Harema Pa is an event that has lived in the memories and hearts of Ngati Whare since the Crown raided this kainga in May 1869. Several men were killed in the surprise attack, some elderly, some trying to escape with their families.
According to Ngati Whare oral tradition, women were raped during the invasion and as a consequence some committed suicide. Fifty women and children were taken prisoner. Te Harema Pa, their home, was destroyed along with all other kainga, cultivations and provisions in the valley as per the Crown’s scorched earth policy at the time.
Mr Speaker, today the Crown acknowledges with deep regret the harm inflicted on the people Ngati Whare during and after its attack on Te Harema. Today the Crown unreservedly apologises to Ngati Whare for these actions.

Ko Tuwatawata te Maunga
Ko Whirinaki te Awa
Ko Wharepakau te Tangata
Ko Ngati Whare te Iwi

As we stand together today, the Crown alongside Ngati Manawa and Ngati Whare, we look to the past with our eyes wide open, we do not shy away. All those things Ngati Manawa and Ngati Whare families have lost due to the actions of the Crown can never be totally replaced. And yet today, Ngati Whare and Ngati Manawa settle their grievances with the Crown and in doing so honour us all with their mana.
To quote a Ngati Whare saying:
“Kia mana ai wō rātau whakapapa.”
By their actions, they instil their whakapapa with mana.
I commend this Bill to the House.


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