26 Jul 2019

Passing of Ngāti Rangi Treaty settlement marks new era for iwi

10:33 am on 26 July 2019

Ngāti Rangi iwi members say the passing of a treaty settlement into law marks the beginning of a new era for them.

A parliamentary vote was witnessed by around 300 iwi from the central North Island.

A parliamentary vote was witnessed by around 300 iwi from the central North Island. Photo: RNZ / DOM THOMAS

The iwi's settlement passed it's third and final reading in Parliament yesterday.

The package includes $17 million and the return of important cultural sites to Ngāti Rangi - and the Crown's acknowledgement of numerous breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The final step, a parliamentary vote, was witnessed by around 300 iwi from the central North Island.

Immediately waiata filled the debating chamber - and continued throughout the celebration afterwards in the Grand Hall.

The settlement recognised the iwi's mana, Ngāti Rangi trust chair Che Wilson said.

"We've been invisible, we've been ghosts in our own land, and so the recognition through the historical account, through the apology, is massive."

He said now that part was over, the iwi could look to the future.

"We have to have faith in ourselves, not in anyone else not in government, and actually not even in the iwi entity, we [have] got to work in rebuilding the hinengaro, the mind of Ngāti Rangi so every Ngāti Rangi whether they live at the foot of Ruapehu or in New York, they can be proud to stand as Ngāti Rangi."

The iwi needed to focus on the goals it had set for itself, including securing a settlement for Tongariro National Park, which Mr Wilson said was not gifted but stolen.

Iwi member Olive Hawira said the agreement meant a stronger future for Ngāti Rangi.

"For me it's about strengthening who we are as Ngāti Rangi, and I pay homage to all of those who've gone before and even the current members of the Ngāti Rangi trust for the way they've got on as building us as an iwi."

A lot of hard work had gone into getting the deal across the line, Korty Wilson said.

"And a lot of work coming together as family, and learning about ourselves, because there were pockets of ourselves as Ngāti Rangi that we had no idea about, so it's a big day."

She said she hoped the iwi could begin to rebuild.

"We lost our language, people have had to move away from home, below the foothills of Mt Ruapehu, often we've been unable to get work at home."

Ms Wilson said now the iwi was onto another journey - with plenty of mahi still to be done.

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