17 Mar 2010

Key dashes iwi hopes for share of oil, gas income

5:29 pm on 17 March 2010

Prime Minister John Key has dashed the hopes of a Taranaki iwi that it might share in the spoils of the region's oil and gas riches.

The rejection comes on the 150th anniversary of the start of the Taranaki Wars as the Crown and two iwi agree to begin Treaty settlement talks.

About 200 people gathered on Wednesday to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Taranaki Wars. Later, the two iwi were to sign agreements to begin Treaty of Waitangi settlements with the Crown.

The Te Atiawa and Taranaki iwi, after years of factional infighting, approved negotiation teams to begin talks with the Crown.

Negotiator Grant Knuckey says that after years of court cases and mediation, the factions are keen to settle for the good of future generations.

He says Te Atiawa wants a share of oil and gas royalties to fund development, education and welfare for the tribe.

But Mr Key that while he understood how Taranaki tribes might seek an interest in the region's energy resources, it was not on the table.

Mr Key joined Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples and local Tai Hau-a-uru MP and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia at Owae Marae to sign the terms of negotiation.

The fighting between settlers and Maori broke out over the disputed purchase of land at Waitara, leading to a decade of warfare and almost 810,000 hectares of land being taken by the Crown.