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Te Arawa lakes settlement offer

Te Arawa lakes settlement offer

The Te Arawa Mäori Trust Board have agreed in principle to the Crown’s offer of 11 December 2003 to settle all Te Arawa’s historical Treaty of Waitangi claims relating to 14 Rotorua lakes, Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson and Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia announced today.

This settlement also capitalises the Trust Board’s annuity and settles any remaining annuity issues.

Te Arawa Maori Trust Board and the Crown have agreed to commence drafting a Deed of Settlement.

The offer represents the accomplishment of a significant milestone over the lakes claim. The redress components in the offer include:

• acknowledgements by the Crown of historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles;

• a cultural redress package that reflects Te Arawa’s relationships with the lakes;

• financial redress totalling $10 million, consisting of: $2.7 million for historical claims; and $7.3 million to buy out the annuity paid to the Te Arawa Maori Trust Board and resolve any remaining annuity issues.

A key aspect of the cultural redress is the vesting of title to the lakebeds in Te Arawa. Free public access for recreational purposes will be preserved, as will the rights of existing commercial users of the lakes.

“The government and Te Arawa have always said that free public access to the lakes will be preserved, and this offer demonstrates how this will be done,” Margaret Wilson said.

Another feature of the cultural redress package is that settlement legislation will be used to make the Rotorua Lakes Strategy Joint Committee a statutory body. The Committee was established to give effect to the Strategy for the Lakes of the Rotorua District. The members of the committee are representatives of the Rotorua District Council, Environment Bay of Plenty and Te Arawa.

Once the Deed is drafted, it will then be subject to ratification by the people of Te Arawa, estimated to occur in mid 2004. If ratified, the Deed will be signed by both parties and implemented through legislation.

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