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Public Hearings for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Treaty Settlement

April 24, 2012

Select Committee Begins Public Hearings for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Treaty Settlement

Public submissions to the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Treaty Settlement legislation began at the Ōrākei Marae today, following the First Reading in Parliament last month. Legislation is expected to be passed into law later this year.

The Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust Board made a comprehensive supporting submission to the Maori Affairs Select Committee on behalf of the iwi, as have other supporters of the Settlement.

"We welcome this opportunity for a robust discussion of all points of view. While there were points raised for and against, Select Committee members will be able to take all of these views away in finalising the legislation," says Grant Hawke, chairman of the Trust Board.

"We appreciate the many supportive submissions that have been received and will continue to work collaboratively with the people of Auckland in the shared best interests of our community."

A fundamental part of Ngāti Whātua Orakei’s approach is to have the right to buy back some small part of the rohe (region) that has been lost. The submission states: “It is this ability to buy land that makes the commercial redress acceptable... Never again will our people be placed in that position of being virtually landless.”

Professor David Williams of Auckland University, submitting in support of the Settlement, said: "The redress arrangements in this Treaty Settlement, as in all treaty settlements since 1995, are absurdly modest in comparison to the social, economic, cultural and political prejudices suffered by Maori in so many ways from 1840 to 1992." Professor Williams urged the Committee to report the bill back to parliament with a recommendation that it should proceed to enactment without amendments.

Key points made in the Trust Board submission are:

• The Agreed Historical Account of the Settlement Deed shows the speed and scale of loss caused by breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. At the time of their signing of the Treaty, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei had little prior contact with Pakeha. Within 15 years they were parted from all but 700 acres of their lands. Crown undertakings and promises were made, but after lands were transferred, Crown undertakings and promises were broken.

• One distinctive feature of Treaty breaches in Tamaki relates to the Fitzroy Pre-Emption Waiver Scheme, which almost exclusively had effect in the Greater Auckland area. Although that scheme involved many protective elements they were not fulfilled, and the scheme was cancelled, with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei becoming the greatest loser of lands. After the Public Works Act in 1951 took all of the Ōrākei marae and surrounding houses, all the hapu was left with was a quarter acre urupa and was otherwise landless.

• For Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei the Settlement is a step in a long process to see its proper position in Tamaki receive tangible recognition. It has been 35 years from the Bastion Point occupation in 1977 to the Treaty Settlement.

The Deed of Settlement terms include:

Cultural Redress

• Transfer of what is presently Department of Conservation administered land by Pourewa Creek. as a reserve to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei coupled with co-governance with Auckland Council

• Statutory acknowledgments for resource management and related purposes in respect of Crown-owned reserve land at Kauri Point.

• Protocol/relationship documents with the Crown and Department of Conservation, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Culture and Heritage and Ministry of Fisheries.

Commercial

• $18 million.

• The ability to buy nominated Navy land on the North Shore for market value. Some of that land is being leased back to the Crown for Defence purposes. The New Zealand Defence Force will continue to occupy the training facility on that land under a lease that can run up to 150 years. They do have an option to exit the lease in 15 years, in which case the Trust Board would be able to buy back all the improvements. However, this is not certain.

"This has been a long journey and we have done all that has been expected of us throughout the negotiation process," said Mr Hawke.

The full submission document is available on www.ngatiwhatuaorakei.com

ENDS

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