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Speech - Ngā Punawai o Te Tokotoru Claims Settlement Bill

Hon Dr Pita Sharples

Minister of Māori Affairs

13 March 2014
SPEECH

Ngā Punawai o Te Tokotoru Claims Settlement Bill Second Reading

Te Arawa E!
Te Arawa E!

Today we welcome sons and daughters of the great Arawa canoe for the second reading of Ngā Punawai O Te Tokotoru Omnibus Bill.
I am honoured to welcome the peoples of:

· Ngāti Rangiwewehi

· Ngāti Rangiteaorere

· Tapuika

Tēnā koutou.
Iwi eternally bound by whakapapa, forever bound by history and today in this house, finally bound by justice.

We remember their tupuna who millennia ago set off from the sands of Whenuakura.

Today, their journey reaches Parliament as Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Tapuika and Ngāti Rangiteaorere once again work together for the future of their people.

Mr Speaker, Ngā Punawai o Te Tokotoru is a collective representing these three iwi of Te Arawa whose members are based in and around Te Puke and Rotorua. While they have negotiated some aspects of their settlements as part of Te Tokotoru, they have signed separate deeds of settlement.

Ngā Punawai o Te Tokotoru Omnibus Bill gives effect to aspects of all three Deeds of Settlement with the Crown between 2012 and 2013 that will settle all outstanding historical Treaty of Waitangi claims for Ngāti Rangiteaorere, Ngāti Rangiwewehi and Tapuika.

Ko Tiheia te maunga
Ko te Awahou me Kaikaitahuna ngā awa
Ko Tarimano te marae
Ko Puhirua me Orangikahui ngā takatoranga o ngā Tupuna
Ko Rangiwewehi te iwi!

The Crown brought war to Tauranga in 1864 and after Ngāti Rangiwewehi supported their traditional allies: 290,000 acres of lands were confiscated. All customary interests in lands returned were compulsorily extinguished.

Mr Speaker, 100-years-later, 1966 and in our lifetime Ngāti Rangiwewehi‘s land loss continued with the compulsory Crown acquisition of whenua at Ngongotaha. A pump station was built over the ancestral Taniwha Springs which remains to this day.

The Crown breached the Treaty of Waitangi in its dealings with the descendents of Ngāti Rangiwewehi. Over generations lands were lost, lives were taken and potential eroded.

He wai koriporipo nō Waiohewa,
Ka u ki Mataikotare,
Ka koinga te titiro ki ngā uri o Rangiwhakaekeau,
Te whakapakari nei,
Ki te pupuri i ngā taonga tuku iho,
Kō Ngāti Rangiteaorere: Ka ora e!

The 1800s saw Ngāti Rangiteaorere drawn into the New Zealand wars, with huge consequences. The Native Land Court’s land policies left the Crown with lands that were flat, fertile and easily accessible by road.
Ngāti Rangiteaorere was left with lands that were fragmented, steep, inaccessible, uneconomic.
50-years ago, the Tikitere geothermal field – prized by generations of Ngāti Rangiteaorere for its medicinal, spiritual and economic value – was taken by the Crown with the Geothermal Energy Act of 1953: the compulsory takeover of an ancestral waahi tapu.
Mr Speaker, mai i nga pae maunga ki te toropuke e tu kau mai ra ki te awa e rere mai ana, waiho te whenua ko te takapu o taku tamaiti a Tapuika!

From the mountain range in the distance to the hill that stands before me to the river that flows towards me. Tapuika!

This ancient claim was made by the tipuna Chieftain Tia aboard the Te Arawa waka.
However the arrival of the Crown in this rohe soon brought war to Tia’s people, and his ancient claim along with the Treaty of Waitangi, was broken.
A series of Toa claims made by others to Tapuika ancestral lands culminated with Crown land alienation policies that were akin to raupatu: punishing Tapuika for taking up arms against the Crown in the 1860s. The land loss was widespread and severe, Tapuika’s loss would lead to the alienation of Tia’s people from their ancestral lands.
Deprived of economic, spiritual and cultural autonomy: generations of Tapuika families have suffered incalculable loss.
Mr Speaker, all these things the families of Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Rangiteaorere and Tapuika have suffered: can never be replaced.
And yet these families wish to settle their grievances with the Crown with mana and dignity: they honour us all with their incredible generosity.
Ngā Punawai o Te Tokotoru has enabled all three iwi to collectively negotiate with the Crown and to also work with each other on their individual claims.
The spirit of whanaungatanga and rangatiratanga demonstrated by Ngāti Rangiteaorere, Ngāti Rangiwewehi and Tapuika will enable the resolution of claims across these three tribes.
This collective approach is already being replicated across Aotearoa, I thank Ngā Punawai o Te Tokotoru for leading by example.
So many of those who have made this day possible are no longer with us but with this bill’s passing their mahi and their mana will be forever be honoured in the laws of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Today is a day to remember those who have passed on, to resolve grievances with those who are with us today and to plan for those yet to be born.

From the sacred marae of Taputapuatea, to the beating hearts of Te Arawa, to the New Zealand House of Representatives:

Te Arawa E!

ENDS

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