Treaty settlement agreement will address housing, energy issues on Chatham Islands, iwi says

8:48 pm on 30 November 2022
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The Chatham Islands. Photo: RNZ/Matt "Big Tuna" Theunissen

Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri are looking towards the future after striking an agreement in principle for a Treaty settlement with the Crown.

Lead negotiator Tom McClurg said the iwi was hopeful this marked the start of a relationship with the Crown as appropriate Treaty partners.

The settlement will be a launching point for a mix of cultural revitalisation and community-based development which will benefit everybody on the Chatham Islands, he said.

"We see that partnership with the Crown will address a number of practical issues on the island jointly, around housing, energy and services."

Tom McClurg, Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri iwi negotiator, speaking to media in the new museum

Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri lead negotiator Tom McClurg. Photo: RNZ/ Anneke Smith

"But also the settlement, modest as it is, provides a foundation for cultural revitalisation and in particular the establishment of a Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri pā on the island."

Alongside financial redress, the settlement will include areas of shared redress between Moriori and Ngāti Mutunga.

McClurg said he was hopeful the process from the agreement in principle will be a fairly quick and easy one, with the hope of reaching a deed of settlement within 2023.

The agreement in principle also marked the opening of a new museum on the Chatham Islands.

McClurg said the vision for the museum was that it would be a place that will tell stories of the Chatham Islands, Ngāti Mutunga, Moriori and Pākehā history.

"It's a building which is going to continue to develop for a lot of years in terms of what's on display in there.

"And one of the most significant things was that the whalebone patu of Pomare Ngatata who was the leader of Ngāti Mutunga when we went to the island in 1835 was returned by Miria Pomare for display in the museum."

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