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Speech: Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara Claims Settlement Bill

Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Minister of Māori Affairs
18 April 2013 SPEECH

Second Reading Speech
Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara Claims Settlement Bill

Mr Speaker, I move that the Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara Claims Settlement Bill be now read a second time.

“You don’t run a Treaty settlement on your own.”

Mr Speaker I quote a very humble descendent of Ngāti Whātua O Kaipara.

This was her response when the media congratulated her after she was honoured by the Governor General for her work in negotiating the settlement of her people’s Treaty of Waitangi claims.

She told the reporter that the more she delved into the injustices of her people’s past – the more she realised she wasn’t venturing into new territories.

She was merely following the well trodden footsteps of those who had gone before her. Generations of Ngāti Whātua O Kaipara who spent entire lifetimes fighting for justice; Her own family members who would never live to see this day.

As only Treaty of Waitangi claimants can understand, she said standing there receiving her award at Government House was an incredibly lonely act. There were so many other people who could equally share in that award. So many other people she would have dearly loved to have been there to accept that award.

“You don’t run a Treaty settlement on your own.” Tena koe Margaret Kawharu, mo ou nei kupu.

So Mr Speaker in the spirit of these humble words I would like to pay tribute to those who have gone before.

Those sons and daughters of Haranui, Reweti, Kakanui, Araparera and Pūtahi Marae.

So many are not here in this House today: but if not for them we would not be here considering a Bill to resolve an injustice that began one hundred and sixty nine years ago.

Moe mai rā e ngā rangatira, moe mai rā.

Mr Speaker.

Ninety per cent.

Ninety per cent of the ancestral lands of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara: Gone within a single generation.

Could we imagine what it would be like to have ninety per cent of our homes taken from us, from our children and grandchildren?
Ninety per cent taken by law?

And the ten per cent of lands left for Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara families? Fragmented, uneconomic and hard to live off.

Determined, unrelenting and pervasive Government land buying and land fragmentation policies took not just hundreds, but thousands of hectares of lands off these families.

By denying these families the lands and resources to take ownership of their own destiny, these policies sought to deny Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara the right to determine their own economic and social wellbeing.

But Mr Speaker, those policies failed miserably.

The people of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara are here in this House today, seeking justice and taking ownership of their own destiny. Many are here in spirit their journey etched on the words in this Bill.

An injustice that began in eighteen forty four with the Crown takeover of vast tracts of lands in the upper Waitematā, will soon be resolved by this Parliament and the people of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara.

In coming to this agreement to resolve past grievances we honour all of our ancestors but importantly; we honour our descendants and we plan for the future.

I stand to acknowledge Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara whose tenacity and leadership will soon see settlement for the hapū and marae of southern Kaipara. I commend the trustees of the Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara Claims Kōmiti and the trustees of Ngā Maunga Whakahī o Kaipara Development Trust for their passion and commitment. They have shown incredible leadership by working alongside other iwi and hapū of Kaipara, Tāmaki Makaurau and Hauraki. The support of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara people for the settlement negotiated on their behalf is clear. Two ratification processes held in August 2010, and August 2011 returned approval rates of ninety six and ninety two per cent respectively.

All those things the families of Haranui, Reweti, Kakanui, Araparera and Pūtahi have lost due to the actions of the Crown can never be totally restored. And yet today, Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara seek to settle their grievances with the Crown.

Mr Speaker, the legislation before us is much more than a new law change.

It is the history of a people and it is the future of a people.

What was taken from these families - can never be totally replaced.

Ninety per cent of their ancestral lands – can never be replaced.

And yet they are here to settle with the Crown.

Mr Speaker I acknowledge the sacrifice, pain and injustice.

I thank Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara for their leadership, generosity and mana: without which we could not be here today.

This Bill provides for a strengthened relationship between the people of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara and the Crown.

A strengthened relationship as partners in the Treaty of Waitangi.

I am proud to stand in support of this bill.

Whaia te Kotahitanga o Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara.

I look forward to all this bill proceeding to the Committee stage without delay.

ENDS

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