11 Feb 2009

Iwi to receive $300m Treaty settlement

7:29 pm on 11 February 2009

Three iwi groupings from the upper South Island and lower North Island will receive $300 million in a Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

For the first time, one iwi has been given the intellectual property rights to New Zealand's famous haka, Ka Mate.

The Government has given billions of dollars to redress lost land and other past wrongs, but this is the first compensation deal to include intellectual property.

The Crown on Wednesday signed letters of agreement with iwi groupings Kurahaupo Ki Te Wai Pounamu Trust, Tainui Taranaki kit e Tonga and Ngati Toa Rangatira. The three groups represent eight iwi or about 12,000 members.

The deal means all historical claims in the South Island are in the process of being settled, as well as those in a large part of the Wellington region and lower North Island.

The iwi will receive $171.45 million in redress for grievances dating back to 1840 when the Treaty was signed between British settlers and Maori.

A further $128.4 million will be paid in accumulated Crown forest rentals, emission credits and other payments in lieu of Crown forest redress.

Treaty Settlements Minister Chris Finlayson says the redress will unlock significant economic development potential for the iwi groups and their regions.

Ngati Toa given ownership of haka

Ngati Toa has been given ownership of the haka, Ka Mate, but the deal does not give it the right to veto its use or claim royalties.

The new agreement is largely symbolic, but it is considered immensely significant by Maori leaders.

It recognises that the haka was composed by the tribe's legendary Maori chief, Te Rauparaha, to celebrate the fiery warrior's escape from death in a battle in the 1820s. The Crown acknowledged Te Rauparaha was detained without trial for 18 months, during which time much of the tribe's land was sold.

The iwi on Wednesday gave assurances that the use of the haka will not be restricted just because it has intellectual property rights.

Chief executive Matiu Rei says Ngati Toa will try to ensure that the haka is not used inappropriately, rather than bringing in a licensing or other commercial system.

Prime Minister John Key says the Crown will work with iwi to ensure there are no restrictions on New Zealanders using the haka.

"If someone is using the haka in an attempt to make money from a commercial point of view, then that's probably a legitimate negotiation or discussion at least to have, but not for the purposes of people doing the haka in the pub or after a cricket game."

Mr Key said the use of the haka by the All Blacks is not considered to be commercial.

Past 'hakas' anger iwi

In 2006, car maker Fiat angered the iwi when it released a television ad of Italian women giving a slap-dash rendition of the haka, traditionally only performed by men.

There was also controversy when New Zealand's 2007 bakery of the year awards featured a mock performance by gingerbread men.

Ngati Toa was again upset when it was performed repeatedly in the Hollywood movie Forever Strong, a film about a high school rugby team in the United States.