In what is being described as the final milestone in their historical Treaty of Waitangi settlement process, the Ngāti Rangitihi Claims Settlement Bill has passed its third reading at Parliament.
Through this settlement, the Crown acknowledges the injustices of its past acts and omissions which breached Te Tiriti o Waitangi, says Minister of Treaty Negotiations Andrew Little.
Ngāti Rangitihi is a Te Arawa iwi based in and around Rotorua, Kaingaroa and Matatā.
This includes the Crown's failure to ensure Ngāti Rangitihi had sufficient land to support themselves in the aftermath of the Tarawera eruption, the Crown’s failure to act in good faith when leasing and purchasing Ngāti Rangitihi land blocks, and excessive land taking at Te Ariki for Public Works.
In recognition of the Crown’s failure to protect the Tarawera River from pollution associated with the Tasman Pulp and Paper mill, the settlement will establish the Tarawera Awa Restoration Strategy Group. This group, consisting of iwi and government representatives, will support, coordinate and promote the integrated restoration of the mauri of the Tarawera River catchment.
This settlement package will provide Ngāti Rangitihi $4 million of financial redress on top of $7 million on-account commercial redress received through the 2008 Central North Island Forests Iwi Collective Settlement.
It also includes the vesting of 19 sites, including the Waimangu Volcanic Valley as cultural redress.
The reading marks the settlement’s final move through the parliamentary process and has significant meaning for Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi iwi members and their tīpuna who have been working towards this day for generations, says a statement released on behalf of the iwi.
“This settlement represents a finality to the claims a number of our hapū and members have made over the years, and the hardships that were inflicted on our tīpuna who fought for this moment since the 1800s,” says chairman and chief negotiator Leith Comer
“This is a successful milestone for our iwi, and we are grateful and pay our respects to our tīpuna who suffered directly under the Crown. Now is the time to reflect on the harm and challenges they faced on our behalf and begin to heal from past mamae (wounds) while celebrating the future we have ahead of us.”
A small group of iwi members attended the reading held at Parliament in the Banquet Hall due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The Ngāti Rangitihi Deed of Settlement was signed at Rangitihi Marae in Matatā on December 5, 2020.
A copy of the Deed of Settlement is available at: https://www.govt.nz/assets/Documents/OTS/Ngati-Rangitihi-5Dec2020/107596-1601966-Ngati-Rangitihi-deed-of-settlement-signing-version-1-December-2020-CORRECT-VERSION.pdf
The Ngāti Rangitihi Claims Settlement Bill can be found here at: https://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2021/0017/latest/LMS466149.html