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Second Reading Speech: Waitaha Claims Settlement Bill


Hon Dr Pita Sharples

Minister of Māori Affairs
18 April 2013 SPEECH

Second Reading Speech: Waitaha Claims Settlement Bill

10.05am, 18 April 2013

Parliament

Mr Speaker, I move that the Waitaha Claims Settlement Bill be now read a second time.

Mr Speaker, the Waitaha story is significant in the history of our country. The Waitaha story is that of an iwi who never ceded sovereignty to the Crown. The story of Waitaha is that of an iwi who sought to uphold its mana. The story of Waitaha is that of an iwi who have been devastated by the cumulative effect of the Crown’s acts, omissions and breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles during the nineteenth and twentieth century’s. The story of Waitaha and its relationship with the Crown is one that almost saw the iwi itself nearly disappear.

The purpose of this settlement is to recognise and settle past wrongs of the Crown in relation to Waitaha. While this settlement will see the Crown provide Waitaha with cultural, financial and commercial redress, as with all Treaty settlements, full reparation for the losses suffered by Waitaha is not possible. This is something that the Crown has to live with.

Mr Speaker, I wish to acknowledge the work that Waitaha has done to reach this day. It hasn’t been an easy journey and I am humbled to stand before them today to say that through this settlement, our mokopuna can look forward to sharing a prosperous future together.

Waitaha descend from Hei and his son Waitaha, who arrived on the waka Te Arawa. Over time, the uri of Hei settled along the coast extending from Katikati to Ōtamarākau and to the island of Tuhua. Waitaha has close whakapapa links with Tauranga, Waikato, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Arawa. By the 1840s, Waitaha primarily occupied the land between Tauranga harbour in the west, and the Waiari River in the east, as well as staying inland.

Waitaha never agreed to cede their mana to the Crown. Most Waitaha rangatira did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi. Only Te Kou o Rehua of Ngāti Te Puku o Hakoma signed the Treaty when it was brought to Tauranga.

The Crown acknowledges that it breached the Treaty of Waitangi in its relationship with Waitaha. The Crown acknowledges that the acts, omissions and breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles that it committed during the nineteenth and twentieth century’s had the most devastating consequences for Waitaha, which almost led to the extinction of the iwi.

Waitaha brought their Treaty claims to tell their story, and the fate of their tipuna Hakaraia is central to that story. Waitaha regard this settlement as a tribute to Hakaraia and his efforts to prevent the alienation of Waitaha land. In the journey through the Waitangi Tribunal inquiry process, continued through this settlement with the Crown, the mana and reputation of Hakaraia has been restored.

Hakaraia was a prophet and rangatira. He was a man of peace. He sought to engage peacefully with Pākehā. However, the Crown brought war to the province in the 1860s. In an attempt to subdue the influence of the Kingitanga, Hakaraia and Waitaha were subsumed by this conflict and its consequences. Hakaraia did not surrender and was considered by the Crown to be an ‘unsurrendered rebel’.

The Crown punished Waitaha severely. The Tauranga raupatu effectively and efficiently undermined the economic wellbeing of Waitaha. After the death of Hakaraia the Crown inflicted further punishment by withholding a large amount of Waitaha land. If this wasn’t enough, the impact of the Native Land Court served to extinguish what little Waitaha land title was left. Such was the impact of this alienation; it almost led to the disappearance of Waitaha.

I am confident that through this settlement the burden that has been carried by the whānau of Hakaraia, and all of Waitaha, will be lifted.

At this time I acknowledge those who carried the burden of the wrongs suffered by Waitaha, who have passed away without seeing this day. Moe mai ra, e ngā rangatira, moe mai ra.

Mr Speaker, what I have summarised only briefly touches on the mamae that Waitaha has had to endure and carry.

Mr Speaker, Waitaha and the Crown began this process by signing terms of negotiation and an agreement in principle in 2008. This led to the deed of settlement being signed on 20 September 2011 at Hei Marae in Te Puke.

In summary, the settlement will provide Waitaha with cultural, financial and commercial redress package.

Cultural redress for Waitaha includes a $3 million education endowment fund in the name of Hakaraia Mahika. The Crown will vest in Waitaha two urban cultural sites; a scenic reserve based on the maunga Ōtara; Maungaruahine Pā Historic Reserve; and land at Papamoa including important pā sites.

An overlay classification, known as Te Whakairinga Kōrero will be provided for in the Bill. This is a Crown acknowledgement of Waitaha values and agreement on protection principles applying to two important mountain sites. The Bill will also provide for a deed of recognition of special association of Waitaha with five areas of conservation land among the ancestral mountains within the Waitaha rohe.

The Crown will provide statutory acknowledgement of Waitaha statements of their cultural, spiritual, historical and traditional association within 15 statutory areas, including the peak of the maunga tupuna Ōtanewainuku, beds of several watercourses, including the Kaituna River and the coastal area between Mauao and Maketu.

Mr Speaker, I acknowledge that $1.3 million has already been provided to Waitaha to prepare a full historical account of Waitaha and Hakaraia, and for a contribution to the restoration of Hei Marae and other cultural support purposes.

The Crown will provide letters to Ministers encouraging support for Maranga Waitaha, a link to Government initiatives to assist the social, economic and cultural needs of Waitaha. The Crown will also provide letters of introduction to local authorities; and the Crown will institute three Ministerial protocols relating to taonga tūturu, conservation and Crown minerals.

Financial redress for Waitaha includes a payment of $7.5 million plus interest from the Agreement in Principle, signed in March 2008.

Commercial redress for Waitaha includes a right to purchase three landbank properties on settlement; a right to purchase five sites on sale and lease-back properties and a right to purchase other landbank properties.

Mr Speaker, I wish to thank Waitaha for the way in which they have resolved issues with neighbouring iwi – both with Tauranga Moana Iwi to the west, and Te Arawa to the east.

I acknowledge that by choosing to enter into a full and final settlement with the Crown, Waitaha has agreed to forego full reparation for the mamae suffered. For their generosity I thank them, and acknowledge them.

This is also an opportunity for the Crown to restore its own tarnished honour and I hope that this settlement will mark the beginning of a stronger relationship with Waitaha, a relationship based on trust, co-operation, and respect for the Treaty of Waitangi.

Mr Speaker I commend this bill to the house and look forward to this bill proceeding to the Committee stage without delay.

ENDS

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