Poverty Bay iwi reclaiming meeting house at Te Papa

3:03 pm on 20 July 2011

The Rongowhakaata iwi says the main focus of its treaty settlement package is the return of its ancestral meeting house being held at the National Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa.

The carved meeting house, Te Hau Ki Tūranga, was confiscated by the Crown in 1867.

A deed of settlement between the iwi and the Crown is being signed at Te Papa on Wednesday.

Iwi negotiator Willie Te Aho says the Crown has confirmed in the deed that Te Hau Ki Tūranga does belong to the Poverty Bay iwi, but it will continue to work with Te Papa over its maintenance.

Mr Te Aho says the tribe never gave up ownership of their whare tīpuna, and its return will be an historical occasion. However, he says any transfer of the meeting house back to the iwi will not take place before 2017.

He says the signing of the deed of settlement is the first step to Rongowhakaata taking back possession of it.

The signing of the deed was deferred from 8 July as the Crown needed more time to notify other government agencies.