26 Nov 2016

Wairoa iwi Treaty settlement marked by Govt apology

9:02 pm on 26 November 2016

The Government has apologised for stealing land from iwi as it signed a Treaty settlement with Ngati Kahungūnu ki Te Wairoa today.

The Government has apologised for stealing land from iwi as it signed a Treaty settlement with Ngati Kahungūnu ki Te Wairoa

Pauline Tangiora and Rose Pere. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

Hundreds gathered at Takitimu Marae to celebrate the signing and hear the Crown's apology.

The iwi and hapū of Wairoa have worked on their treaty settlement for more than 30 years. It is the fifth largest Treaty of Waitangi settlement to date and includes a $100 million payment.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson spoke about the Crown's role in taking, by force, land from Ngati Kahungūnu ki Te Wairoa and apologised for the Crown's role in the iwi's loss of land.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson arrives at Tākitimu Marae to sign the Wairoa deed of settlement and formally apologise to Ngāti Kahungunu hapū.

Iwi members young and old lay down the challenge with a haka. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

Mr Finlayson said he regretted the destructive and demoralising effect the confiscation had on the Ngati kahungunu ki Te Wairoa hapū.

"The Crown can never fully compensate for the wrongs of the past, but this settlement provides the people of Te Wairoa with the foundation for a stronger cultural and economic future," he said.

Mr Finlayson said intense military campaigns against Te Wairoa led to socio-economic deprivation, which still existed.

The Government has apologised for stealing land from iwi as it signed a Treaty settlement with Ngati Kahungūnu ki Te Wairoa

The iwi and hapū of Te Wairoa have worked on their treaty settlement for more than 30 years. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

Pauline Tangiora was one of the first people to start the settlement more than 30 years ago.

"It's a great relief that the job has finished for our rohe, we now pass it on to the next stage and hopefully they'll settle for the benefit of the beneficiaries in peace and harmony."

The newly-established Post-Settlement Governance Entity, Tatau Tatau o Te Wairoa Trust, has two years to formulate a business and social plan for the settlement money.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson arrives at Tākitimu Marae to sign the Wairoa deed of settlement and formally apologise to Ngāti Kahungunu hapū.

The full pōwhiri welcomes Mr Finlayson onto the marae grounds. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

During the whaikōrero today, Kiingitanga advisor Rahui Papa said the Crown needed to stand by its apology.

It was to redress a grievance from a Crown attack on the iwi on Christmas Day, 1865, which resulted in loss of life and property.

The iwi and hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa includes seven iwi and hapū covering northern Hawke's Bay, southern Gisborne, the township of Wairoa, Lake Waikaremoana and the Mahia peninsula.

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