Final milestone to settle claims of Maungaharuru-Tangitu
Final milestone to settle the claims of the Maungaharuru-Tangitū Hapū
Leaving in the dark, early hours of this morning, a bus-load of kaumātua and whānau travelled from Hawke’s Bay to Parliament, their sights set on witnessing the third reading of the Maungaharuru-Tangitū Hapū Claims Settlement Bill.
Lead negotiator, Tania Hopmans says “the last lot of legislation passed by Parliament about our hapū, dates back to the 1800’s and resulted in the loss of much of our land. Today, we expect Parliament to pass legislation that goes some way to putting right, those wrongs.”
The Maungaharuru-Tangitū hapū are one of a few groups in New Zealand, and the only group in the Hawke’s Bay region to suffer raupatu (confiscation) of lands by the Crown. Originally the hapū owned 110,000 hectares, today the hapū own only 3 acres of land on which their marae at Tangoio is located, and which is in a flood zone. Much of this land loss is attributed to raupatu under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863.
Today marks the end of a heart-breaking history for the hapū involving attacks by Crown forces, the death or imprisonment without trial of their people in Rēkohu (Wharekauri / Chatham Island), the loss of virtually all of their tribal land and the impoverishment of their people. The whānau attending Parliament today represent the many generations who struggled before them, including those that repeatedly petitioned the Crown for years and years, and those that sought redress from the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council – all with no success.
“We will remember them all today. Especially when we sing our waiata, ‘Tirotiro Kau Au’ and we cry ‘kei whea koutou e ngaro nei e te iwi? [where are you all, the vanished souls lost to the gathered clan]’, says Tania.
Tania emphasises that today is also a celebration. “This legislation and the settlement it provides for, signal a new beginning – what we hope will be a massive turning point for our hapū. Our hapū are now focussed on the health and wellbeing of our marae, our people and our environment.
They also want to develop a strong economic base to provide for the needs of our hapū. We are excited about the opportunities, and the challenges, before us.’