28 Aug 2009

Crown apology to Te Arawa for Treaty grievances

9:17 pm on 28 August 2009

The Crown has formally apologised to Te Arawa iwi and hapu for grievances dating back to the mid-19th century.

The apology, given by Prime Minister John Key at Owhata Marae in Rotorua on Friday, is part of a $43 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement reached with 11 iwi and hapu. Negotiations began in 2003.

Mr Key described the event as momentous, saying it was a chance for the Crown to atone for its mistakes of the past and reflect on how its actions affected generations of Te Arawa people.

Mr Key said the Crown profoundly regrets its breaches of the Treaty and unreservedly apologises. He said he hopes this will assist the process of healing and the relationship between Te Arawa and the Crown.

Te Arawa accepted the apology, to great applause and song.

Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa Trust represents about 24,000 people whose area of interest covers more than 500,000 hectares.

Trust chief executive Rawiri Te Whare says the apology and settlement marks the start of a new relationship between the Crown and Te Arawa.

While elements of Te Arawa fought with the Crown during the Maori Land Wars, Mr Te Whare says the subsequent loss of land could not be prevented.

Trust chair Eru George says the Crown settlement means Te Arawa is in a position to become a strong economic player in the Rotorua region.