Waitangi settlement signing in Tauranga (+updates)

By John Cousins

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A who's who of Maoridom and Tauranga's political leaders gathered on an emotionally-charged historic battleground today for the signing of Tauranga Moana's first settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims.

UPDATE: 12.30  

Ngati Ranginui's iwi's Deed of Settlement with the Crown has been signed before a crowd of about 1000 at the Te Ranga battleground in Pyes Pa.

UPDATE: 12.00

A crowd of about 1000 is gathered in Pyes Pa for Tauranga Moana's first settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims.

Proceedings began this morning with a dawn flag-raising ceremony at 6.30am and a special powhiri welcomed Maori King, King Tuheiti at 9.30am.

This was followed an hour later by a welcome for the Crown and other distinguished guests.

The signing of the deed is expected to get underway shortly and  will involve the Crown including the Minister of

Treaty Negotiations, Chris Finlayson, and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, the hapu trustees who will handle

the settlement assets, the representatives of the eight hapu who negotiated the settlement, and however many iwi members at the ceremony _ there are 700 pens available.

The signing will be followed by speeches of greeting by Mr Finlayson and the chairman of Ngati Ranginui hapu's

settlement team Antoine Coffin and presentations including the gifting of taonga (treasures) to rangatira of Ngati

Ranginui.

The flag will then be lowered at 1pm, before guests move to Ngai Te Ahi hapu's Hairini Marae.

King Tuheitia and Crown officials will be welcomed to Hairini Marae at 1.30pm, followed by a banquet.

(Story continues below)

 

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Ngati Ranginui's iwi's Deed of Settlement with the Crown took place on the Te Ranga battleground, the scene of the massacre of Maori forces by colonial troops exactly 148 years earlier.

The battle unleashed retribution by the Crown in which Ngati Ranginui lost much of their land and cast the iwi's eight hapu (subtribes) into a struggle against poverty that continues to the present day.

Today's ceremonies at Pyes Pa began with a dawn flag-raising ceremony at 6.30am. Two hours later the first powhiri (welcome) took place for the MP for Tauranga, Simon Bridges, the MP for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell, all the Western Bay's council leaders and Tauranga Moana's other iwi of Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Pukenga.<inline type="photogallery" id="13125" align="outside" embed="no" />

A special powhiri was reserved for the Maori King, King Tuheitia, who arrived at 9.30am followed an hour later by the third and final welcome for the Crown and other distinguished guests.

The signing of the deed was due to begin at 11.30am and involve the Crown including the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Chris Finlayson, and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, the hapu trustees who will handle the settlement assets, the representatives of the eight hapu who negotiated the settlement, and however many iwi members attended today's ceremony - there are 700 pens available.

The signing was to be followed by speeches of greeting by Mr Finlayson and the chairman of Ngati Ranginui hapu's settlement team Antoine Coffin and presentations including the gifting of taonga (treasures) to rangatira of Ngati Ranginui.

Once the flag was lowered at 1pm, the scene would shift to Ngai Te Ahi hapu's Hairini Marae where King Tuheitia and Crown officials were to be welcomed at 1.30pm followed by a banquet.

The signing ceremony was hosted by Ngati Ranginui hapu Ngaitamarawaho.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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