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Ngati Whatua Signing Deed of Settlement Saturday

News Release
For Immediate Release
November 4, 2011

Ngati Whatua Signing Deed of Settlement Saturday

The leadership of Ngati Whatua o Orakei will sign a Deed of Settlement with the Crown over past Treaty of Waitangi transgressions on Saturday November 5 at 11am at Okahu Bay, the site of the former marae, Te Puru o Tamaki, and the village where many of the current elders were born and raised.

For Ngati Whatua o Orakei this is an historic occasion. This settlement has been pursued since 1993 and has been through many convolutions.

Chairman of the Ngati Whatua o Orakei Maori Trust Board, Grant Hawke, says it is important to remember this is a settlement relating to the way the Crown, over many decades, did not uphold its end of the Treaty which Ngati Whatua signed in good faith in 1840. He says it is not a commercial settlement, it is something much more solemn than that.

“At my age I have watched many of our old people pass away still with the pain of our ancestors in their souls. The pain was about being badly treated, about not being listened to, and not having the same levels of justice that others around us had for decade after decade. It was also about having people tell us our culture had no value.

“When Governor Hobson was first invited to Tamaki to set up his capital here by my ancestor Apihai Te Kawau, Ngati Whatua o Orakei had political control of the Auckland isthmus.

“Within five years of signing the Treaty of Waitangi 78,000 acres had been lost by Ngati Whatua. West Auckland, areas around Albany, Onehunga, Mangere, Mt Wellington, Mt Roskill, all of the North Shore to and beyond Torbay, and all of central Auckland from Westmere to Avondale to Blockhouse Bay to Royal Oak to Epsom and Grey Lynn were in the ownership of settlers. All that was left was 700 acres at Orakei and that was later whittled down to just a quarter acre Urupa at Okahu Bay.”

Hawke says Ngati Whatua o Orakei did nothing particularly wrong. The people just led their lives while great upheaval happened around them. After 1840, settlers poured into Auckland with a voracious appetite for land and resources.

“We supported the Crown and paid our taxes. The problem we had was that our land was right in the middle of the growing city with spectacular views that others coveted and so it was alienated under many guises.”

The settlement does not give the people of Ngati Whatua o Orakei anything like the value of what was lost, but it does recognise that their historical grievances are legitimate.

“In this Deed of Settlement there is an apology, which is important to us, and there is an acknowledgement of transgressions by the Crown. There is also an Agreed Historical Account that I encourage our fellow Aucklanders to go to our website and read. It’s not something to feel guilty about but it is an historic document about our city and by reading it one could become more informed.”

Grant Hawke says he is now excited about the future. The settlement includes $16 million plus title to land at Pourewa Creek and the right to purchase Defence Force land on the North Shore. There is also cultural redress contained in the upcoming and separate Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau (Tamaki Collective) settlement. A record of agreement for this settlement will be signed shortly followed by a deed of settlement after the election.

“Ngati Whatua will again have a footprint on the North Shore. We can build an economic base for our people as we once had and we can focus on the things that are important to our people in the 21st century – education, health, housing and strengthening our culture.”

The signing will be attended by the Minister of Treaty Negotiations Hon Chris Finlayson, the Minister of Defence Hon Wayne Mapp, the Minister of Maori Affairs Hon Dr Pita Sharples and Auckland Mayor Len Brown.
END


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