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Ngāti Hauā Claims Settlement Bill: Second Reading Speech

Ngāti Hauā Claims Settlement Bill: Second Reading Speech

Mr Speaker, I stand to tautoko the second reading of the Ngāti Hauā Claims Settlement Bill.

The clear and pragmatic approach that Ngāti Hauā has brought to the settlement of their claims is a triumph and the product of their absolute belief and commitment.

I quote Ngāti Hauā co-lead negotiator Lance Rapana who said:
The key to arriving at this sort of outcome is . . . the ability of your iwi to pull together, 100 per cent together, and move as one."
It was the result of hard work, unity and the pursuit of justice by generations of Ngāti Hauā that has allowed us to reach this point today.

Although the recent Treaty settlement negotiations that culminated in the Bill before us was perhaps one of the fastest on record, for Ngāti Hauā, this path was instigated many years ago by their rangatira Wiremu Tamihana.

Wiremu Tamihana annointed the first Māori King, giving rise to the position of Tumuaki, a role of local and national political and spiritual significance that endures to the present day.

I would like to acknowledge the role of the Tumuaki whose leadership has contributed to the timely success of this settlement.
In this settlement, the Crown apologises for breaches of Treaty rights from the 1860s onwards, and in doing so has acknowledged the means employed by the Crown to strip Ngāti Hauā of their fertile lands, their rivers and their maunga.

Mr Speaker, thriving communities with a strong economic base were totally destroyed.

During the invasion of the Waikato in 1863 and 1864, many Ngāti Hauā were killed or wounded. In 1865, the Crown confiscated a large area of Waikato land. The raupatu caused destitution within the Ngāti Hauā rohe, and left them virtually landless.

Until his death in 1866, Wiremu Tamihana sought the return of Ngāti Hauā lands, a cause subsequently pursued by his son Tupu Taingakawa. Wiremu Tamihana submitted petitions to the Crown, and his pursuit of justice and peace became a model for many generations of Ngāti Hauā who continued to be confronted by predjudiced Crown systems.

By the 1880s, private parties had acquired a large quantity of Ngāti Hauā land. The alienation was exacerbated through public works for roading, railways, schools and hydro-electric purposes.

This included a Ngāti Hauā longstanding grievance relating to the Crown’s public works taking of land at Waharoa. In World War II, the land was taken for an aerodrome, after which there was a complete failure to return that land.

Slowly, surely and comprehensively, the landscapes and waterways within the Ngāti Hauā rohe were forcibly taken out of their hands.

The loss of land undermined their social and traditional stuctures, removing their ability to exercise customary rights and responsibilities.

Mr Speaker, despite a long history of seeking a meaningful relationship with the Crown, and despite Ngāti Hauā’s insistance for peace and justice, Ngāti Hauā has endured great predjudice at the hands of the Crown.

This settlement acknowledges the wrongdoings of the Crown in this regard. In doing so, this settlement heralds a new chapter in the relationship between Ngāti Hauā and the Crown based on respect for the mana and rangatiratanga of Ngāti Hauā and its leaders.
Ngāti Hauā is already well-regarded within its community and around the motu, and this Bill will legislate in law, the importance of their relationships to their whenua.
The settlement includes eight sites to be vested in Ngāti Hauā totalling 706 hectares. This includes Maungakawa, vested in Ngāti Hauā as a scenic reserve, with public access maintained.
Ngāti Hauā will also be involved in the co-management arrangements for the Waikato River within their area of interest through Waikato-Tainui.

And if the Waharoa Aerodrome land is no longer required for aerodrome and ancillary aviation purposes and reverts to the Crown, then it too can be vested in Ngāti Hauā.

Mr Speaker, this and other redress included in the settlement package in no way fully compensates the huge loss of land experienced by Ngāti Hauā at the hands of the Crown.

However, I am moved and encouraged by the humility and graciousness of Ngāti Hauā iwi. Their hard work and unity, and their ongoing pursuit of peace and justice as an iwi whakapono is inspiring – not just to iwi in Waikato or around the country, but to all New Zealanders.

Mr Speaker joy, tears and applause greeted this settlement when it was signed in July last year. Today I stand to support the second reading of this Bill with the same acclamation and commendation.

No reira tēnā tātou katoa.


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