6 Feb 2014

Te Kawerau a Maki to sign Treaty settlement

7:06 am on 6 February 2014

An Auckland tribe with no marae building has started to repair its relationship with the Crown.

Te Kawerau a Maki is about to sign its Treaty settlement. Since the arrival of Europeans, the iwi lost nearly all of its land. Its territory was once right across Auckland.

All it has left is an inaccessible rocky island at south Piha, called Taitomo Island, and a 5-hectare block of forestry.

Written by historians, the story of the Kawerau a Maki people is a compelling one.

Raids by northern Maori war parties - armed with muskets - caused tribal losses and forced survivors into exile in Waikato.

Some returned to Waitakere, west Auckland in 1835 - between Piha and Muriwai.

Then, the Crown started buying ancestral land without the tribe's knowledge.

The transactions for whenua and forestry caused the loss of land and ownership of wahi tapu in some areas.

Treaty breaches continued up until the 1980s, when the iwi's rights to the large Woodhill Forest were sold without the tribe being told.

Te Kawerau a Maki will sign its Treaty settlement with the Crown on 22 February and will be given land at Te Onekiritea Point at Hobsonville to build a marae.

The tribe will also receive $6.5 million to buy 85 percent of Riverhead Forest.

Chief Auckland Crown negotiator Mike Dreaver says Te Kawerau a Maki was represented by professional, courteous, and honourable people.

He says the talks were entertaining and challenging, but were ultimately a rewarding experience.