18 Feb 2017

Parihaka solution mooted for Waitara

8:58 pm on 18 February 2017

A completely separate reconciliation process - similar to that being used for Parihaka - has been suggested as a solution for historical grievances at Waitara in Taranaki.

The chairwoman of Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa, Liana Poutu (centre) said the Parihaka example showed a way forward outside of legislation and the Treaty process.

The chairwoman of Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa, Liana Poutu (centre), said the Parihaka example showed a way forward outside of legislation and the Treaty process. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The Māori Affairs Select Committee heard submissions on the Waitara Lands Bill at Owae Marae in Waitara yesterday.

If adopted, the New Plymouth Council-sponsored bill would allow the freeholding of 780 leasehold properties and return some land to Te Ātiawa.

It would also pump $60 million from the potential sale of leases into Waitara via a new entity made up of council and iwi representatives.

Te Ātiawa initially supported principles of bill but withdrew its backing last last year.

The chairwoman of Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa, Liana Poutu, who spoke last at yesterday's hui, said a reconciliation process similar to that for Parihaka offered a way forward.

"I don't think it is something we pick up and dump here and replicate but what it shows and indicates to me is that this can be dealt with outside of Treaty settlements and it can be dealt with outside of legislation and we need to take some time to explore it."

Ms Poutu said Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa was unable to continue to support the bill when it became clear the overwhelming majority of its members were not behind it.

"What's evident from the submissions presented today and what's been communicated to us as the iwi entity, is that actually the heart of this issue is about the confiscation of land here and this bill doesn't provide an avenue for the reconciliation of that."

In its revised submission, the New Plymouth District Council and its partner the Taranaki Regional Council said that the bill provided a solution that enabled competing interests to be recognised.

"It provides a contemporary solution to a historic legacy. We believe the Bill will result in increased opportunity and prosperity for all residents of Waitara."

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