7 Dec 2012

Ngati Toa and Crown sign Treaty settlement

9:07 pm on 7 December 2012

The Crown has acknowledged that it breached the Treaty of Waitangi, leaving Ngati Toa virtually without land.

A Treaty of Waitangi settlement signed by Ngati Toa and the Crown, worth $75.2 million, includes cultural redress, an apology from the Crown for the way it treated the tribe and its chief Te Rauparaha, and the introduction of special legislation on the national haka, Ka Mate.

The Crown and Ngati Toa, a Maori tribe with ties to the Wellington region and the top of the South Island, signed the agreement at Parliament on Friday.

Before the parties signed, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson addressed a crowd of at least 300 people. Some kuia (elderly women) wore traditional Maori cloaks, while others in the crowd held up photos of pakeke (iwi elders), during the welcome.

Mr Finlayson told those gathered how the Crown undermined the power of Ngati Toa leaders for two years from 1846. He said tribal leaders were pressured to agree to sell their lands, including Porirua, and by 1865 Ngati Toa had been left virtually without land.

During the signing, Mr Finlayson said settlement can't fully compensate for what Ngati Toa has lost, but later told Radio New Zealand's Te Manu Korihi the package will bring the iwi and Crown closer.

Mr Finlayson says both will work together and discuss matters such as co-governance over Kapiti Island as well as the haka.

An official ceremony to mark an apology to Ngati Toa is being arranged.

Te Runanga o Ngati Toa chairperson Taku Parai is pleased that a settlement has been reached after the iwi filed its claim with the Waitangi Tribunal about 26 years ago.

Mr Parai said the signing is a time to reflect on the journey and remember those people who helped in reaching a settlement, as well as those who have died.

Ngati Toa says the settlement will build a future for generations to come.