20 Dec 2017

Crown 'dishonoured its obligations' - govt apology to iwi

11:52 am on 20 December 2017

Parliament is sitting under extended hours this morning to progress two Treaty of Waitangi Bills.

The Treaty of Waitangi. He Tohu, a new permanent exhibition of three iconic constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand. Treaty of Waitangi, Declaration of Independence and Women's Suffrage Petition.

The Treaty of Waitangi Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The first bill would enact the deed of settlement for Central North Island iwi Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

As part of the settlement, the Crown has apologised to the iwi for its grievous breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.

"To the resilient iwi that is Ngāti Tūwharetoa, to your Ariki, your beloved 15 tūpuna, your hapū, and your whānau, the Crown offers this long overdue apology: the Crown unreservedly apologises for the ways it has dishonoured its obligations to you under te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles."

The legislation is being passed through its first reading today, then will be considered by the Māori Affairs Select Committee.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little said the redress in the bill would give the iwi great influence over the management of a number of culturally and historically significant places.

"This settlement includes the return of 32 sites to Ngāti Tūwharetoa, including properties at Five Mile Bay, Huka Falls, Parakiri, Taurewa Farm and the Tongariro National Trout Centre.

"It also brokers a range of new relationships with agencies, establishes a new statutory board, Te Kōpua Kānapanapa, which will provide Ngāti Tūwharetoa a mechanism to exercise mana and kaitiakitanga over the Taupō catchment in partnership with local authorities."

The second bill relates to the settlement, and an apology, of a treaty claim by iwi and hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa.

"The Crown recognises that the iwi and hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa have long sought to right the injustices they have suffered at the hands of the Crown, and is deeply sorry that it has failed until now to address the injustices appropriately.

"For too long, the Crown has failed to respect the mana motuhake of the iwi and hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa, and it unreservedly apologises for its failure to honour its obligations to the iwi and hapū under te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles."

The bill is passing through its second reading today.

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