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Cullen: Ngati Rangiwewehi, Tapuika mandate

Michael Cullen

30 October, 2008
Address at Ngati Rangiwewehi, Tapuika recognition of mandate ceremony

Speech notes prepared ahead of delivery at Tarimano Marae, Rotorua

Thank you all for your warm welcome here today for these celebrations to mark the Crown's recognition of the mandates of Te Maru o Ngati Rangiwewehi Iwi Authority and the Tapuika Iwi Authority to represent Ngati Rangiwewehi and Tapuika in negotiations with the Crown.

This is an important day, not only for those of us gathered here today, but for those who have gone before us and those who will follow in our footsteps.

I would like to acknowledge the people of Tarimano Marae, and all of you here today who have come to take part in this occasion.

I am delighted to be here with my colleagues the Minister of Māori Affairs and the Associate Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations.

In fact, today's ceremony recognises a number of important milestones for you:

* First, the recognition by the Crown of your mandated bodies to negotiate your historical Treaty settlements;
* Secondly, your Joint Terms of Negotiation signed with the Crown in August this year; and
* Finally, your acceptance of the Crown's offer of an on account settlement to provide some equity in the short term with your CNI neighbours.

To reach even this early point on the path to comprehensive settlements of your historical Treaty claims takes considerable effort and hard work.

I would, therefore, like to congratulate the representatives of the mandated bodies for their commitment and determination in bringing the claims of Tapuika and Ngati Rangiwewehi to the negotiating table.

I recognise that it has been a long road for you to get to this point and that it has come at some sacrifice to your members.

I would also like to congratulate both groups on receiving such strong support from your members in approving your mandate to negotiate with the Crown. I understand that there were no objections to you representing your respective iwi.

This is to be applauded, and may the strong support of your members' continue.

The Crown's recognition of your mandates can ensure that the negotiations can proceed.

It is my pleasure to present to you today, letters of the Crown's approval of the mandates of both bodies.

This year has seen a great deal of progress in Treaty settlements.

Iwi from all over the country have enjoyed the benefits of this progress, including your neighbours, through the CNI Collective deal and other negotiations.

In the midst of this flurry of activity around you, I appreciate your desire to enter into negotiations with the Crown, and I congratulate you on your leadership and initiative in agreeing to work together to negotiate your settlements.

The alliance between you both has a solid foundation and I am confident that this arrangement will only serve to strengthen the relationship.

Your claims and grievances have been partially heard by the Waitangi Tribunal in its Central North Island Inquiry.

We heard at these hearings how both groups were, in various ways, impacted by the Crown's actions.

We heard how you were affected by the New Zealand Wars, how you suffered extensive loss of land through Crown purchasing, and how public works and development has alienated you from your waterways and natural environment.

The coming process of negotiation will provide the opportunity for agreement between the Crown and Ngati Rangiwewehi and Tapuika on the nature, extent, and impact of the breaches of the Treaty and how they might be redressed.

The speed at which we have reached this point makes me optimistic that these negotiations can be completed in a timely fashion so that you can move on to develop their social and economic potential.

In a sense, the hard work starts now. From here we will move towards negotiating a settlement package that meets the interests of all parties.

We will need to continue to work together and take a "can do" attitude to reach that next milestone of Agreements in Principle.

I look forward to this day, and I hope to be welcomed here once again with the warmth and hospitality that you have shown us today.


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