22 Nov 2008

Report acknowledges Maori hardship after land grab

9:06 pm on 22 November 2008

A Waitangi Tribunal report has confirmed major treaty grievances against iwi from the top of the South Island.

A report released by the Tribunal on Saturday finds that by 1860, all but a fraction of land across the upper South Island had been taken from eight iwi.

The report says those Maori were left to grinding poverty, social dislocation and loss of culture and recommends a large and culturally appropriate redress.

Negotiations on a claim have been underway for about two years and some sections, such as aquaculture, are already complete.

The chairperson of Tainui Taranaki group of iwi, Roma Hippolite, says the report is an excellent historical record.

However, he says its value is marginal in negotiating a settlement with the Crown, which is not bound by the report's recommendations.

A negotiator with the Kura Haupo group of iwi, Mark Moses, says negotiations have reached a significant stage, and he hopes the document will reinforce compensation claims over land and major natural resources stretching from Tasman to Marlborough.

Representatives of eight iwi gathered in Nelson on Saturday for a ceremony to receive the Tribunal's findings.

The Tribunal released its interim report in June, saying the Crown took Maori land, mainly in the 1840s and 50s, without full consent or fair prices being paid.