Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa setlement

It’s good to see that a Treaty settlement between Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa and the Crown has been reached.

Newshub: Government signs $100m treaty settlement

The government has apologised to Wairoa iwi and hapū at the signing of a $100 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

Following a ceremony between the Crown and Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa at Tākitimu Marae in Hawke’s Bay on Saturday, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the settlement provided for a stronger cultural and economic future.

The settlement provides an acknowledgement, apology and reparation for the Crown’s historical breaches of the Treaty.

“The historical grievances of Te Wairoa iwi and hapū relate to the loss of the vast majority of their rohe, intense military campaigns and socio-economic depravation, the effects of which can still be seen today,” Mr Finlayson said.

The settlement – the fifth largest ever in financial terms – covers seven cluster groups of iwi and hapū in northern Hawke’s Bay, southern Gisborne, the town of Wairoa, Lake Waikaremoana and the Mahia peninsula. It covers more than 30,000 people.

It includes the assets of the Wharerata and Patunamu Forests, a number of Department of Conservation sites, and a social and economic revitalisation strategy in partnership with government agencies.

“This settlement has received overwhelming support from the claimant community. It will benefit the iwi and hapu of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa as well as the wider Wairoa region,” Mr Finlayson said.

Finlayson has done a lot to progress Treaty settlements, but this settlement has taken a long time.

From Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa website:

The progression of Treaty of Waitangi claims against the Crown has a long and significant history in Wairoa stretching back to the early 1980’s with the lodgement of initial claims across the Wairoa Inquiry District (the Waitangi Tribunal reference for the area between Tūranganui-a-Kiwa and Mōhaka). Many of our iwi and hapū tried unsuccessfully over the years to progress their Treaty of Waitangi claims, often being thwarted by changing Crown policies.

In response to this, a group of iwi and hapū with interests across the Wairoa Inquiry District came together at Rangiāhua Marae in 2002 to discuss how to work together to collectively resolve historical Treaty of Waitangi claims against the Crown.

Despite the fact that the Crown had (and continues to have) a policy of only negotiating with Large Natural Groupings (or LNGs), these iwi and hapū decided that our whakapapa and whanaungatanga, the kinship and family connections between us was a major asset in allowing us to work together to negotiate our historical claims with the Crown. This group of iwi and hapū were initially known as “The Wairoa Inquiry District Working Group” until it was renamed Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa, the name that stands today.

After coming together in 2002, we took three years to decide the best course of action to move our historical Treaty claims forward in consultation with our iwi and hapū. The outcome of three years of intense discussion was a decision to progress through direct negotiations with the Crown in seeking one comprehensive settlement for our historical grievances.

2005 then became a pivotal year for Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa where we began to formally interact with the Crown in setting the foundations for negotiations.

Sitting beside this was a firm commitment to our people in seeking their mandate to find a path to allow them to still have their stories told and recorded on the public record. This was a response to the fact that in deciding to proceed directly to negotiations with the Crown, we forfeited the right to hold a Waitangi Tribunal hearing.

Although the (milestones) and achievements made seem to have occurred over a long period, it is in fact quite typical of the Treaty settlement process whereby we have successfully navigated the checks and balances and stringent Crown requirements in between the milestones in moving through this process.

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