28 Oct 2012

Treaty settlement with Te Rarawa signed

5:04 pm on 28 October 2012

The Crown has signed a $70 million Treaty settlement with Te Rarawa, the largest tribe in the Far North.

The tribe is the third of the five Muriwhenua iwi to settle its grievances. The occasion is being marked with a day of ceremony and celebration in Kaitaia.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson was welcomed with a rousing haka on Sunday morning at Kaitaia's Te Ahu civic centre.

Te Rarawa has been negotiating to settle its claim for more than 10 years and it's 25 years since the claim was first lodged.

The settlement package is worth between $65 - $70 million: that includes two former Landcorp farms, Crown forest land, and a cash transfer of $33 million.

Te Rarawa will have a share of the 21,000 hectare Aupouri Crown forest.

Iwi leaders say the signing of the deed of settlement is tinged with sadness - as they remember what they have lost over the years.

The Crown apologised to the iwi for more than a century of wrongdoing against it.

Minister for Treaty Negotiations Chris Finlayson told the hui that successive Governments had deprived Te Rarawa of much of its land and the ability to sustain itself.

He said the transgressions had begun early with the Government taking back land that settlers had acquired unfairly and then keeping it instead of returning it to Maori.

Mr Finlayson apologised and said there would be no more broken promises to the iwi by the Crown.

The scene in Kaitaia earlier on Sunday.

The scene in Kaitaia earlier on Sunday. Photo: RNZ

Te Rarawa is the second iwi to sign a deed of settlement this weekend.

Ngai Takoto signed its deed on Saturday. Te Aupouri signed last year.

Far North Mayor Wayne Brown said the event marks a new beginning for iwi relations with the Crown and with councils in the Far North.

He said new, forward-thinking leaders have emerged to lead the iwi and the council is looking forward to a closer relationship with them through Maori representation.

As part of the Muriwhenua settlements, iwi and councils will establish new boards to manage Ninety Mile Beach (Te Oneroa a Tohe), as well as large tracts of conservation land.