20 Sep 2012

House sits for extended hours to progress Treaty bills

3:10 pm on 20 September 2012

Four Treaty of Waitangi bills were progressed under Parliament's extended sitting hours on Thursday.

Bills settling claims for Waitaha and Ngati Whatua o Kaipara passed their first reading, while legislation for the claims of Ngati Manuhiri and Ngati Whatua Orakei passed their second reading.

The settlement for Waitaha, a Bay of Plenty iwi, covers cultural redress including a $3 million education endowment fund and financial and commercial redress of $7.5 million.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia told the House that Waitaha was once a powerful tribe, but when it lost its land it became fragmented and was never able to unite again.

"This morning in this House we greet a new dawn for the people of Waitaha, and with it the hope of a future in which they are truly able to enjoy the restoration of their mana in every sense of the word."

The Ngati Whatua o Kaipara Settlement Bill also passed its first reading.

This Auckland hapu lost virtually all its land, which the bill acknowledges had devastating consequences for its social, cultural, spiritual and physical well-being.

The settlement includes commercial and financial redress worth about $22 million, including the transfer of Woodhill Forest and the return of Atuanui (Mount Auckland) and eight other significant sites.