9 Jul 2015

Hawke's Bay iwi initials its deed of settlement

8:16 pm on 9 July 2015

A Hawke's Bay iwi is one step away from signing its full and final Treaty of Waitangi settlement with the Crown.

Chris Finlayson (far right) having a hongi with He Toa Takitini.

Chris Finlayson (far right) having a hongi with He Toa Takitini. Photo: He Toa Takitini (livestream)

A special ceremony took place at Parliament today with about 100 Ngāti Kahungunu travelling from their rohe to witness the initialling of the Heretaunga-Tamatea Deed of Settlement.

Wellington's mana whenua, Te Ātiawa, welcomed Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga-Tamatea to Parliament to initial the final documents before the iwi completes its Treaty settlement with the Crown.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson acknowledged the iwi's attendance and said he hoped the Deed of Settlement would receive the tribe's approval before it passed on to its final stage.

"I am so very pleased to welcome you here today as we initial your Deed of Settlement, hand the Deed to you to take it back to your people to see whether they think it is appropriate to be ratified, and then we'll have the signing ceremony if they approve," he said.

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga-Tamatea suffered significant and widespread loss of land under the Crown, and will eventually receive $100 million in compensation.

Some of the areas the money will be spent on include setting up a restoration fund for waterways and investing in marae as well as education programmes for tribal members.

Mr Finlayson said the package would also include a special lease agreement of Te Aute College.

"To do something with Te Aute College through this settlement is tremendous and it's not the be-all-and-end-all because we've got further matters we need to talk about there, but I'm very interested in the issue and very keen to help you.

"As I've said, we're looking at things like Glasgow leases and the like in the future," said Mr Finlayson.

A member of the mandated iwi negotiating group, He Toa Takitini, spoke about the relationship Ngāti Kahungunu has with the Crown and its ambition to move forward.

"Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed in good faith by both parties," the kuia (respected woman) said.

"We have always respected the Crown and we have always seen ourselves as equals. That position has not changed and that journey now resumes. Strategic and politically astute - that is Heretaunga-Tamatea."

The iwi and hapū will be given powers to appoint two members to the Hawke's Bay regional planning committee.

Bids will be made for the original Māori place names to be recognised: Waipureku for Clive and Heretaunga for Hastings.

The deed will now be taken back to Hawke's Bay for iwi members to approve over the next few weeks, before a full and final settlement takes place before the end of the year.