31 Jul 2008

Crown and Tuhoe sign negotiation terms over claim

7:29 pm on 31 July 2008

The Crown and Tuhoe have agreed on ground rules for negotiations to settle a Treaty of Waitangi claim.

Several hundred people travelled to Wellington to witness the signing of the terms of negotiation at Parliament on Thursday.

The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand's founding document. However, Tuhoe is not a signatory to the Treaty and this will be only the second time it has entered formal negotiations with the Crown. The document also sets out the objectives for both parties.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen says the Tuhoe claims include the loss of land and lives by Tuhoe as a result of Crown actions; the execution of unarmed prisoners by Crown forces during the New Zealand wars; and a raid on Maungapohatu in 1916.

Dr Cullen acknowledged that the people of Tuhoe have suffered "significant injustice" at the hands of the Crown.

Tuhoe says sensitive issues will have to be considered during its negotiations with the Crown, but there is goodwill on both sides.

The iwi says even though issues such as the return of Urewera Natonal Park and sovereignty for Tuhoe are sensitive, they are on the table.

Both parties say they are entering the negotiations in good faith, with a desire to settle Tuhoe's claims.