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Tūhoe Claims Settlement and Te Urewera bills passed

Hon Christopher Finlayson
Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

24 July 2014

Tūhoe Claims Settlement and Te Urewera bills passed

The House sat under extended hours this morning to pass the third readings of the Tūhoe Claims Settlement Bill and the Te Urewera Bill, which together settle the historical grievances of Ngāi Tūhoe and establish legal identity and new governance arrangements for Te Urewera.

“Today opens a new chapter for Tūhoe and for the Crown,” Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said. “These bills settle the historical claims of Tūhoe, who suffered some of the worst breaches by the Crown in the country’s history, involving large scale confiscation, brutal military campaigns targeting Tuhoe settlements, and unjust land purchases.”

“The Tūhoe Claims Settlement Bill sets out Crown acknowledgements of this history for all New Zealanders to learn about and learn from,” Mr Finlayson said. “It enshrines in legislation an apology for the Crown’s grievous actions.”

“It also provides financial and cultural redress that will allow Tūhoe to build up their traditional homeland, develop opportunities for their people, and through the Mana Motuhake redress take a leadership role in delivering social services in their rohe. It is a new beginning for the relationship and for Tūhoe.”

The Te Urewera Bill is a central component of the settlement with Tūhoe. It will preserve the natural and cultural values of Te Urewera, strengthen the connection between Tūhoe and Te Urewera and provide for public access and recreation. This bill recognises that Te Urewera is treasured by Tūhoe people as their homeland and by the nation as a whole.

A new Te Urewera Board will be established to govern Te Urewera, develop and approve a ten-year management plan and to undertake landowner functions such as deciding on concessions and permissions to undertake certain activities in Te Urewera.

“I am grateful for the generosity of Tūhoe in reaching and accepting this settlement,” Mr Finlayson said.

The legislation was introduced an omnibus bill, the Te Urewera–Tūhoe Bill, but was split to allow the arrangements for Te Urewera to be set out in stand-alone legislation. The Te Urewera Bill is expected to take legal effect in late September.

Tūhoe Claims Settlement Bill
The bill will settle the historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Tūhoe. The settlement includes financial and commercial redress of approximately $170 million (which includes Tūhoe’s share of the Central North Island Forests Land Collective Settlement); Mana Motuhake redress to improve relationships between Tūhoe and the Crown and the delivery of government and iwi services in Tūhoe communities; and the return of culturally significant sites and other cultural redress.

Te Urewera Bill
The Te Urewera Bill will replace the National Parks Act 1980 as the primary legislation providing for the governance and management of Te Urewera. It sets out the new arrangements which will preserve Te Urewera for its cultural, historic and natural values, as a source of Tūhoe identity, as well as for the use and enjoyment of the public. The level of protection given to Te Urewera under the new legislation meets the International Union for Conservation of Nature criteria for Category II Protected Area (National Park).

The Crown will no longer own Te Urewera. Te Urewera will be established as a legal entity. The land that currently comprises Te Urewera National Park will be vested in the Te Urewera legal entity.

Te Urewera will governed by a new Board and managed by Tūhoe and the Department of Conservation. Operational activities will be coordinated by the parties through an agreed annual operational plan.

ENDS

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