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Te Ururoa Flavell Speech: Ngati Mutunga Settlement

Ngati Mutunga third reading

Te Ururoa Flavell, Member of Parliament for Waiariki

Wednesday 15 November 2006; 5.20pm

Ko te Titōhea ka meangiatia,

he puna koropupu, ahakoa tukitukia e te poaka

E kore e mimiti, ka koropupu, ka koropupu, ka koropupu

Tītōhea makes reference to a free flowing spring, that despite being defiled by pigs, its flow will not diminish. Indeed, it wells up and gushes forth in spite of the pollution, the filth that surrounds it.

Mr Speaker, this korero is extremely appropriate today. Ngati Mutunga, no koutou tënei korero.

Kei te mihi te Paati Maori ki a koutou o Ngati Mutunga mo ta koutou mäia, ahakoa tukitukia e te hau, e te ua, e te pu, e te raupatu, e te muru o te whenua, tena koutou katoa. Haere mai me nga mate, haere mai me te raukura.

Today, Mr Speaker, we commend Ngati Mutunga for the courage and the perseverance to withstand the devastation of raupatu, the context of confiscation and colonisation. Ko koutou ko era atu iwi, hapu o Taranaki, me kii ko nga iwi o Tokomaru, Kurahaupo, o Aotea waka.

The Maori Party is mindful of the analysis of the Waitangi Tribunal in the 1996 Taranaki Report. That report described the context of Taranaki as beyond comparison - concluding; and I quote,

“there may be no others where as many Treaty breaches had equivalent force and effect over a comparable time”.

Not many in this country will know that military action in Taranaki on the behalf of the Government did not end until the invasion of Parihaka in 1881.

Or that conflict with the use of arms was spread over not one, not two but forty years of violence.

That Taranaki experienced relentless attacks on a people who placed their faith in the prophets of peace – Te Whiti, Tohu, Titokowaru.

But the Tribunal went further to suggest that while the pain of war may soften over time, the real issue that remains the central problem, is the relationship between Maori and Government.

The passive resistance of Taranaki iwi and hapu was punished with land deprivation, burning and ransacking of homes; destruction of crops; and the assault of the pen. These matters are all well recorded.

Special legislation was enacted to deny all rights of trial. Several hundreds of Taranaki Maori were sent to jail indefinitely, to places like Otakou - Dunedin.

The imprisonment and sedition charges laid against their leaders was intended to annihilate the movement, to force the people to retrench from their position, to retreat into submission.

E kore e mimiti te puna koropupu, ka koropupu tonu
The spring will never diminish, it will continue to bubble

And so it is, that ngā uri o ngā tūpuna o Ngāti Mutunga are here today.

You see, Mr Speaker, it would benefit members of this House to travel to Taranaki, to places like Parihaka, to Urenui, to sit in the whare puni of Taranaki to understand the depth of feeling about confiscation, of locking away the leaders.

The songs and haka of Taranaki, capture the history.

Piki mai Pungarehu ka tangi mai te piukara.

Climb the hill at Pungarehu, one can hear the sound of the bugle.

E rere ra te motu nei ki roto koia o Parihaka.

References are made to the soldiers’ arrival at Parihaka.

Mr Speaker, despite the histories that have been told, the waiata that are sung, the mamae that must remain in the hearts of Ngati Mutunga people.

So I want to assist the House in understanding the context, through the use of a role play to convey the effect of a Deed of Settlement in which the Crown and Ngati Mutunga agree to a full and final resolution of all the Ngati Mutunga historical claims.

And for the purposes of this role play I will enlist the support of the Honourable Mark Ririnui. Our key prop in this scenario is the fictitious house of the Honourable Member – for the purpose of this exercise it has been valued at $250,000.

Think about this. Two years ago, when the Maori Party was getting established we had to take Mr Ririnui’s house off him, to set up a national headquarters. We did this in the best interests of the nation you see. That’s what we are here for, the best interests of the nation.

Now, with the benefit of careful reflection, we realize that wasn’t fair.

So we are prepared to ‘fess up, and suggest that it would be in the best interests of the nation that we, the Maori Party, acknowledge we were at fault; and we are willing to enter into a process of negotiation to make amends for our confiscation of his property.

We hope that Mr Ririnui will agree to a settlement which we can both accept as ‘fair in the circumstances’.

We believe that it would be ‘fair in the circumstances’, to offer Mr Ririnui a settlement price of approximately one percent of the value of the house – a value which we believe represents the value that will stand for at least another twenty five years. So we’re here, with our cheque in hand, for the sum of $2500.

We based this amount on the valuation we got from a Commission that we have used in similar situations. We understand that Mr Ririnui has another valuation than the one we prefer. Aroha Mai. We will stick with our own thanks.

Unfortunately, the Maori Party is unable to pay any more for the house because our long term goal is to expand into other areas, and we need to consider the overall quantum in order that we are able to afford to take the houses of other Ministers in due course.

We are, however, always willing to be reasonable, and indeed our generosity knows no bounds in that we are prepared, today, to table an apology for having to take the House – for the best interests of the nation. Sorry, but we wanted your House.

We know that the Ririnui family has a vested interest, as such, in the House through the Ririnui Family Trust. Ever wanting to be helpful we suggest, well, actually our offer is conditional on Mr Ririnui dis-establishing the family trust, and transferring all the assets and functions of that body to another post-settlement governance body. Fairness, however, must always operate within fiscal constraints.

And so we further direct that we set up a board in which we appoint some representatives to ensure the new post-settlement governance body will be accountable for the settlement funds – the $2500.

And we would like Mr Ririnui to let everyone know in his whanau, and to take a roll call at all his meetings, so that we can trust that they have participated in this process. You see, as children and grandchildren they have a vested interest to know what koro and kui are doing. Everyone can have a vote for the $2500, the 1%.

Any costs involved shall be met within Mr Ririnui’s own resources.

The $2500 that Mr Ririnui will receive for his house shall be put into a trust fund, and we have some helpful suggestions how that fund can operate.

We believe that this settlement is fair in the circumstances, and we will celebrate it with Mr Ririnui and his whänau as taking the nation forward. To prevent any future problems, we recommend that this settlement is full and final. No coming back. We want to thank Mr Ririnui for his spirit of co-operation.

Here’s the question. Would you sign?

If it was a take it or leave it offer, if it was a take it now or go to the back of the queue, I suppose I would.

The Maori Party has consistently raised our concerns that the Treaty settlement process is fundamentally flawed. On one hand we respect the right of the iwi to do as they will, provided that people know about what is happening- this is tino rangatiratanga. On the other hand, the process, the quantum, is wrong.

We say that the Crown will go to whatever means it can, to achieve settlements; settlements which stand the risk of creating divisions in whanau, hapu, iwi, waka relationships. Thankfully this was not the case for Ngati Mutunga.

Settlements resolved with a quantum which Ngati Mutunga humbly describe as modest; which the Maori Party describes as outrageous. The quantum is not negotiated. It is a done deal before the parties start!!

A cash settlement of $14m, with $400,000 of that already spent on negotiation costs, doesn’t cut it when one considers the travesty of justice experienced in Taranaki.

Ngati Mutunga was required to carry the bulk of the costs themselves – including the voluntary commitment of so many of their people over the years – many of whom did not survive to see the settlement reach its fulfilment.

And their questions remain unanswered – why did Taranaki, which suffered the worst excesses of war and raupatu, have to struggle to find resources to undertake settlement?

Mr Speaker, we know that today has historic meaning to Ngati Mutunga. Ara ano taua korero:

E kore e mimiti, ka koropupu, ka koropupu, ka koropupu

You have sought every opportunity for justice to be done; for the spring to continue to bubble; for the emerging generations to grow.

Ngati Mutunga, we would welcome you back some time in the future, when the circumstances are indeed fair, to speak with you about how justice can not only be seen to be done, but how justice can in fact, be done.

Ngati Mutunga, tell your children and their children that the Maori Party has extended this invitation. An invitation which we will have as a priority when the time comes for us to form a Government.


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