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Te Urewera-Tūhoe Bill: Second Reading Speech

Te Urewera-Tūhoe Bill: Second Reading Speech

Mr Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of the second reading of this Bill to address the historical grievances of Ngāi Tūhoe.

When this Bill was introduced to the House last year I said then, that every New Zealander should know the history and stories of this country.

The stories that make us proud to be New Zealanders and the stories from our nations’ past that are shocking and shameful.

Upon reading the historical background to this settlement, no fair-minded person could deny or dismiss the need to resolve the injustices that ensued.

Mr Speaker, this Bill documents a litany of disgraceful acts committed by the Crown against Ngāi Tūhoe over many generations.

For its part the Crown apologises to Tūhoe for:

· the indiscriminate raupatu, wrongful killings and years of scorched earth warfare;

· denying Tūhoe the right of a self-governing Te Urewera Reserve by subverting the Te Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896;

· excluding Tūhoe from the establishment of Te Urewera National Park over their homelands; and

· wrongly treating Lake Waikaremoana as Crown property for many years.

Tūhoe has always approached resolution of its disputes with the Crown, in a principled and determined manner.

Through this settlement, the Crown has been given a second chance to bring honour to its ongoing relationship with Tūhoe.

Mr Speaker, this Bill contains an historical account of what happened in the past, together with an apology and redress.

This Bill provides a foundation for the future.

This Bill has the potential to produce transformative results for Tūhoe.

History has shown that in order to build better and brighter futures for our tamariki and mokopuna, our whānau, hapū and iwi must be involved in making the decisions that affect that future.

Tūhoe have always stuck by the philosophy of taking care of their own – a philosophy of self-help. Tama tū, Tama ora, Tama noho, Tama mate!

Through a social agreement to build the capability of Ngāi Tūhoe members, Ngāi Tūhoe are positioning themselves to manage their own affairs; and improve the delivery of government and iwi services to Tūhoe communities.

The settlement is the ‘enabler’ to a stronger Tūhoe economy. It is a lifeline that will help reinstate and redevelop Tūhoe independence and cultural permanency.

These acts restore the honour of the Crown and rightly return to Tūhoe responsibility for their own Health, Education, Housing, Planning, Justice and other infrastructural needs.

Mr Speaker, the key principles underpinning negotiations between the Crown and Tūhoe centred on the premise that ‘self-government is the basic principle of democracy and that Tūhoe has the democratic right to self-government’.

Ko tō Mana Motuhake tō Tūhoetanga

Ko tō Tūhoetanga tō Mana Motuhake

Ka kore tēnei, ēhara noa tatau.

Tūhoe were not signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi, and have always maintained a right to uphold their unique Tūhoe values, culture, language and identity within Tūhoe homelands.

Through this settlement, Tūhoe has the political authority and arrangements necessary to serve the needs of Tūhoe families and communities in all aspects of their daily lives.

This is an omnibus bill to be split at a later stage into the Tūhoe Claims Settlement Bill; and the Te Urewera Bill.
The parts of the Bill that will become the Te Urewera Bill lay out striking new arrangements for the governance and management responsibilities and obligations over Te Urewera.

The Bill creates an independent legal authority for Te Urewera. It recognises Te Urewera in her own right and with her own identity.

Te Urewera will be released from the shackles of Crown control and will be governed by Tūhoe and Crown nominees, with Tūhoe having an increased role in management over time.
Cultural values associated with Te Urewera will be captured in the Bill. These include principles relating to the protection of biodiversity, natural and historic heritage, public input into management and future public access.

Internationally, agreements like these have been held up as important achievements for environmental protection.
To promote its unique cultural values, Tūhoe will seek international recognition of Te Urewera as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
Mr Speaker, in the face of incredible injustice, today we witness the incredible generosity of the families of Tūhoe-Pōtiki, who wish to settle their grievances with the Crown.
I want to acknowledge the sacrifice, pain and injustices Ngāi Tūhoe has endured, due to the actions or omissions of the Crown.

And again I pay tribute to the sons and daughters of Hinepūkohurangi for their leadership and mana.

Tūhoe moumou kai. Tūhoe moumou taonga. Tūhoe moumou tangata ki te pō.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora tātou.


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