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Maungaharuru Tangitū Claims Settlement Bill Third Reading

Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Minister of Maori Affairs

10 April 2014

SPEECH


Maungaharuru Tangitū Claims Settlement Bill Third Reading Speech


Mr Speaker, I move that the Maungaharuru Tangitū Claims Settlement Bill be now read for the third time.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to the members of Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū who have travelled here to join us on this important day.

I acknowledge those who carried the burden of wrongs suffered by Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū, many of who have passed away without seeing this day.

Me mihi anō au ki a rātou. Moe mai ngā rangatira, mau tonu koutou i ngā ngākau nei o ngā uri whakatipu.

Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū are tāngata whenua within their takiwā. In their takiwā they have held, and continue to hold, ahi-kā-roa.
Their takiwā extends from Maungaharuru range in the west, to Tangitū in the east; from the Waikari River in the north, to Te Wai-o-Hingānga and to Keteketerau in the south.

This is the takiwā of the Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū, who are commonly known as –
Ngāti Marangatūhetaua (also known as Ngāti Tū);
Ngāti Kurumōkihi;
Ngāi Te Ruruku (ki Tangoio); and
Ngāi Tauira.

In this takiwā, Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū were the recipients of Crown actions and inactions that cannot be ignored or excused. In this takiwā, Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū were challenged on their own whenua. And yet, Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū have come here today, to settle with the Crown.

Mr Speaker, the story of the Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū is, therefore, not a story about land loss, but one of determined continuity.

The settlement for Maungaharuru Tangitū, as encapsulated by this Bill, is a result of that determination.

Mr Speaker, prior to arrival of Pākehā, Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū lived independently and without the need to leave their rohe to survive. The Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū whakatauākī “Ko tō rātau pā kai ngā rekereke”, which means “their fortified villages were in their heels”, eloquently describes that life for the hapū.

Resources available on the coast at Tangitū and available in the inland areas, meant that Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū had year round nourishment without having to leave their tribal boundaries.

These rich resources were and continue to be taonga (treasures) to Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū. The Crown’s actions completely changed this way of life.
Mr Speaker, we are here today to consider a Bill that resolves injustices inflicted by the Crown through its acts and omissions under the principles of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi / the Treaty of Waitangi.

From the 1850s, the Crown undertook a process that systematically confiscated nearly all of the Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū ancestral lands.

The Waitangi Tribunal recorded in its Mohaka ki Ahuriri Report that Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū suffered land loss through pre-1865 Crown purchase, the operation from 1865 of the Native Land Court, and the 1867 confiscation and later Crown purchasing mainly conducted from 1910 to 1930.
The impact of the land loss; the lack of development opportunities; the fragmentation and multiple-ownership of tiny parcels of land; and the lack of access to the remaining land; completely undermined the social and economic base of Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū. The impacts of that land loss can still be seen today.

And yet, Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū are here to settle with the Crown.

For generations, Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū have sought redress for the many breaches of the Treaty by the Crown. From Te Teira Te Paea’s petition to the Privy Council in London in 1901, over the confiscation of Kaiwaka block, to the filing of claims with the Waitangi Tribunal in the 1990s, Maungaharuru Tangitū has continued to seek justice for the wrongs it has suffered.

In May 2004, the Tribunal presented then Minister of Māori Affairs, the late Hon Parekura Horomia, with the Mohaka ki Ahuriri Report. They reported that the claims of Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū were well founded. They concluded that “overall, we have identified serious breaches of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi by the Crown in the loss of Maori land in our inquiry district”.

The Waitangi Tribunal recorded in its Mohaka ki Ahuriri Report many actions and inactions by the Crown, a few I will mention here. It found that the Crown negotiated unscrupulously to purchase land at Ahuriri and Mōhaka in 1851. It described that the Crown was unjustified in its attacks on Pai Mārire followers at Omarunui and Petane, and its subsequent pursuit of the escapees, and destruction of their property.

Further, the Tribunal reported that the Crown unlawfully confiscated land from Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū, and had no basis for depriving the hapū of ownership of the Tangoio and Maungaharuru blocks

It did not provide any redress for its exclusion of Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū from the title to the Kaiwaka block in 1870, despite protests by the hapū over many years, and the extensive legal action they unsuccessfully took to be included in the title.

The Crown also failed to adequately protect the environment in Mohaka ki Ahuriri including Lake Tūtira, coastal reefs and other places. Through its failure to adequately protect the environment, the Crown’s actions negatively impacted on the resources that Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū treasured and the little land they retained.

With resources impacted upon, the Crown failed to make adequate efforts to halt Māori depopulation, and improve the health and living standards of the Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū to standards equal to that of Pākehā.

These actions by the Crown, and others, cannot be ignored or excused. And today, Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū are here to settle with the Crown.
Today, this Bill gives effect to a Deed of Settlement negotiated between the Crown and Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū. This Bill provides for cultural, financial and commercial redress in compensation for these breaches. It is a way that the Crown can acknowledge that it breached the Treaty of Waitangi. It is a way that the Crown can apologise for those breaches and their consequences.

This Bill makes amends for the Crown’s past actions and looks to build a shared future with Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū.

Mr Speaker, 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.

It allows Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū and the Crown to acknowledge the past grievances and look forward to a more prosperous future together. It is about creating a bright and prosperous future for Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū.

At this point, I wish to pay tribute to Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū. They have suffered heavily at the hands of the Crown, but Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū has a proud history of seeking justice and have not remained passive as these injustices occurred. They have continued in their kaupapa, resolute and determined.

I stand before you to acknowledge the courage and determination you have shown. However, my words can only briefly touch upon the mamae and pain that Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū has had to endure and carry.

This settlement will support the healing of the relationship between Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū and the Crown. It also serves as an important lesson for the Crown to ensure that the devastation inflicted upon Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū is never repeated.

I hope that the apology, which forms part of the settlement, will also assist with this healing. We acknowledge that as a consequence of the Crown’s actions from 1850, Maungaharuru Tangitū hapū has been left bereft on its own whenua. And yet, you have come here to settle with the Crown.

Mr Speaker, I commend this Bill to the House.

ENDS

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