29 May 2012

Whakatohea readies for Crown talks

6:31 am on 29 May 2012

An eastern Bay of Plenty tribe that rejected a Crown settlement in the 1990s says it is now just weeks away from lining up its new Treaty claim for land confiscated by colonial forces.

Negotiators for Whakatohea refused an offer in 1995 because, they said, it was not good enough.

The Whakatohea working party says it is now at an exciting stage and is getting ready to present its Deed of Mandate to the Crown - the step before negotiations start.

This time it is seeking greater financial redress, from $65 - $80 million. In 1995 the offer was $40 million.

Whakatohea working party chair Barry Kiwara says the tribal area has the worst social deprivation in the country - which stems from the time when their land taken away.

He says new negotiations present an opportunity to claw back some of the lost years.

Mr Kiwara says settlement money would be spent on housing, health and education.

The invasion of Whakatohea land was retribution for the murder of the missionary Sylvius Volkner in 1865. A Whakatohea chief was wrongfully accused of the killing and was executed.

Governments have issued two pardons - the most recent one last year was acknowledged in law.