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Pita Sharples Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara Claim Settlement Speech

Hon Dr Pita Sharples

Minister of Māori Affairs 

6 June 2013
      SPEECH       

Third Reading Speech

Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara Claims Settlement Bill

Parliament, 10.30am

Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara, ngā tamariki mokopuna o Haranui, Reweti, Kakanui, Araparera me Puatahi marae. Tēnā koutou.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to nga uri o Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara who have travelled here to join us on this important day.

I would like to acknowledge all those who made claims on behalf of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara and began this journey.

I would also like to pause to remember and pay tribute to those who began this journey but are no longer with us. In particular, I remember the revered rangatira, Sir Hugh Kāwharu. Moe mai rā e ngā rangatira, moe mai rā.

Mr Speaker, we are here today to complete our consideration of a Bill to resolve an injustice that began one hundred and sixty nine years ago.  It has been a long and arduous journey to get to this point.

This Bill settles the Treaty claims of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara by giving effect to the Deed of Settlement that Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara have negotiated with the Crown. This Bill includes the Crown’s acknowledgements that it breached the Treaty of Waitangi and it apologises for those breaches and their consequences. This Bill also provides for cultural, financial and commercial redress in compensation for these breaches.

In 1992 the Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara claim (Wai 312) was lodged in the Waitangi Tribunal, with hearings in 1999 through to 2001.  Negotiations began in 2002, but little progress was made, until serious discussions began in 2008 with Sir Michael Cullen when he was the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. It was not until December 2009 that an Agreement in Principle was signed, then finally in September 2011 Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara signed their Deed of Settlement.

So, 21 years later, we mark a significant milestone for Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara as I move the third and final reading of their Settlement Bill.

This Bill will settle the grievances arising from the Crown’s persuasive and unrelenting land buying policies that began with the purchase of large tracts of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara land bordering on the upper Waitematā in 1844. The Native Land Court exacerbated land loss by individualising titles so that by nineteen hundred, and within a single generation, Ngāti Whātua had lost ninety percent of their lands in Southern Kaipara.

The ten percent of lands left for Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara was fragmented, uneconomic and hard to live off. Mr Speaker, this land loss also meant the right of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara to uphold their own mana motuhake, to exercise their own rangatiratanga, was denied.

But Mr Speaker, the people of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara survived, and while it has been a long journey, they are here in this House today, seeking justice and taking ownership of their own destiny.   Some are also here in spirit.

An injustice that began in 1844 with the Crown takeover of vast tracts of lands in the upper Waitematā, will soon be addressed by this Parliament and the people of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara.

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. 

In coming to this agreement to resolve past grievances, we honour all of our ancestors. Importantly, we also 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 the 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 96 and 92 per cent respectively. 

Mr Speaker, the Treaty settlement journey for Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara has taken over 21 years, and although it is not possible to provide full restitution to Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara for the losses suffered, the settlement redress provided for in this Bill seeks to recognise the seriousness of their grievances, and build a positive foundation for future generations of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara iwi.

The legislation before us is much more than a new law. 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. 90 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.

I believe this settlement will support the healing of the relationship between Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara and the Crown. I hope that the apology, which forms part of the settlement, will also assist with this healing. Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara acknowledges that the Crown’s apology represents its commitment to build a positive relationship with them and to honour its obligations under the Treaty, for the good of this and future generations.

The Bill acknowledges Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara’s relationship with their whenua. As part of this acknowledgement, nine reserves and conservation sites of significance will be transferred to Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara as cultural redress. These sites include:

·       Atuanui Scenic Reserve

·       Mairetahi Landing

·       Mauiniu Island

·       Moturemu Island

·       Tīpare

·       Makarau

·       Makarau Bridge Reserve

·       Parakai; and

·       Ten Acre Block Recreation Reserve

The settlement will be a key step in allowing the iwi to move forward economically and culturally. The $22.1 million plus interest through their settlement in financial redress, including the transfer of Woodhill Forest, will provide Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara with an ability to focus on and develop their future. 

Mr Speaker, I am proud to stand in support of this bill. 

Whaia te Kōtahitanga o Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara.

ENDS

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