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Treaty developments significant over the past year

Treaty developments significant over the past year

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said today there had been significant developments in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi and indigenous rights in the past twelve months.

He was releasing a section specifically about the Treaty from the Human Rights Commission’s annual review of race relations for Waitangi Day. The full report will be published in March. Other sections yet to be released will record developments in relation to language, civil and political rights, economic and social rights, the media, cultural diversity and discrimination.

The report welcomes the Waitangi Trust’s decision to provide free access to the Treaty grounds from later this year. It notes that there was progress in both Treaty claim hearings and settlements, although two settlement agreements (Te Arawa and Tamaki Makaurau) were challenged before the Waitangi Tribunal, which upheld the complaints.

Increased protection of Māori cultural and heritage values in the sale process for Crown lands was also positive, and the United Nations’ adoption of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples marked a significant step forward in the international recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples.

Mr de Bres said that the Commission was publishing a bi-lingual version of the Indigenous Rights Declaration to coincide with Waitangi Day. He believed that it may be the first translation of the Declaration into an indigenous language.

The review lists the main developments in 2007 as being:

The Waitangi Trust announced that entry to the Treaty grounds will be free for New Zealanders from October 2008

The Waitangi Tribunal produced five reports on Treaty claims relating to Te Tau Ihu (the Northern South Island) (2), He Maunga Rongo (the Central North Island),Tamaki Makaurau, and the Affiliate Te Arawa Settlement, concluded hearings on the indigenous flora and fauna claim and continued work on other claims.

Two terms of negotiation were signed by the Crown, with Gisborne iwi and with Ngati Toa Rangatira Five Agreements in Principle were signed by the Crown, with Ngati Apa (North Island), Te Rarawa, Waikato-Tainui, Taranaki Whanui and Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa

The Whanganui Courthouse was transferred to the Pakaitore Trust on behalf of Whanganui Iwi

An Agreement was signed to transfer Mauao (Mount Maunganui) to the iwi of Tauranga Moana and to recognise the importance of the mountain to Waitaha

A Deed of Settlement signed between Crown and Tuwharetoa Māori Trust Board, updating the 1992 deed relating to Lake Taupo

The Waka Umanga (Māori Corporations) Bill, was introduced to Parliament

Nine groups pursued customary rights orders under the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and three groups were engaged in negotiations for territorial customary rights

Ten iwi were approved as Mandated Iwi Organisations by Te Ohu Kaimoana in 2007, bringing the total to 47 at the end of the year

Government established new processes for the sale of Crown land after a review prompted by land protests

The United Nations adopted a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


ends

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