7 Dec 2021

Treaty settlement legislation for Hawke's Bay hapū passes final reading

8:07 pm on 7 December 2021

The third and final reading of the deed of settlement recognising seven hapū of Ahuriri (Napier/Hawke's Bay) has passed in Parliament today.

The Ahuriri Estuary, or Te-Whanganui-a-Orotū, lies on the edge of Napier around its seaside.

A number of sites of significance to Ahuriri hapū will be recognised by the Crown in the settlement including Te Whanganui-Ā-Orutu and Te Muriwai o Te Whanga (the Ahuriri Estuary and catchment areas). Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

The Mana Ahuriri deed of settlement first began in 2013 and recognises all historical claims of the seven hapū prior to 1992.

It acknowledges that the Crown breached Te Tiriti o Waitangi leaving the hapū virtually landless causing generational distress.

Covered by the redress will be a historical account, Crown apology, Crown acknowledgement, financial, commercial, and cultural redress.

The Mana Ahuriri Trust which represents the hapū will receive $19.5 million to recognise their historical claims and interest accumulated since 2013 will also be paid.

An additional cultural redress of $500,000 for natural resources and $15,000 of funding for pouwhenua and the gifting of three properties will be included.

Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri, who passed the bill, spoke of the historical journey leading up to the settlement where Māori of Ahuriri were killed while the Crown sought to attain more land leading to greater alienation.

But she said the settlement marked a milestone for the Ahuriri hapū going forward.

"It has been a long journey madam speaker, today is a day of acknowledging the harm and the hurt of the past but also celebrating and with great expectation of what is to come before us.

"I'm under no illusion that both the apology, the cultural redress and the financial redress in this settlement to the tune of $19.5m will aid the opportunities that these hapū so well deserve madam speaker," Whaitiri said.

The seven Hawke's Bay hapū recognised within the redress include Ngāti Hinepare, Ngāti Māhu, Ngāti Matepū, Ngāti Paarau (which includes Ngāi Tahu Ahi), Ngāi Tāwhao, Ngāti Tū and Ngāi Te Ruruku.

The Crown acknowledged the mandate of the hapū body Mana Ahuriri Incorporated in 2010 and from that point discussions and negotiations began to settle all the historical claims of the Ahuriri hapū.

An agreement was then signed in principle in 2013 which laid the foundations for the settlement process.

A number of sites of historical, cultural, and traditional significance to the Ahuriri hapū will be recognised by the Crown in the settlement which includes Te Whanganui-Ā-Orutu and Te Muriwai o Te Whanga (the Ahuriri Estuary and catchment areas).

As a part of the settlement, a statutory committee named Te Komiti Muriwai o Te Whanga will be established to acknowledge the hapū as kaitiaki and enable them to protect and preserve the environmental, economic, social, spiritual, historical and cultural values of Te Muriwai o Te Whanga for the future generations.

The Crown acknowledged in their apology that whilst the Ahuriri hapū upheld their commitments as Treaty partners, they did not.

This led to the loss of ancestral lands and resources and has severely impacted the cultural, spiritual, physical, economic, and social development of Ahuriri hapū.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little said while no form of redress could compensate the grievance caused, it marks a new beginning for the relationship between Ahuriri hapū and the Crown based on cooperation, mutual trust, and respect.

He said the Crown could now look to take the next steps in realising the settlement promises made to Ahuriri hapū.

"Ahuriri hapū has overcome considerable obstacles to reach this point, they have suffered the history of land loss, war and adverse Crown policies that left them virtually landless by the beginning of the 20th century.

"Today they begin the strengthening and further development of the seven hapū of Ahuriri, in partnership with the Crown that acknowledges the wrongs of the past but allows for new growth and prosperity," Little said.

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