More than 100 people from the Napier area are expected at Parliament tomorrow for the signing of a deed with the Crown in the last of the major Waitangi Tribunal district claims deals in Hawke's Bay.
The signing of the Ahuriri Hapu Deed of Settlement with mandated settlement group Mana Ahuriri, includes the Wai55 Whanganui-A-Orotu Napier inner-harbour claim which was lodged in 1988, having wended its way intermittently through over a century of litigation without resolution.
Despite a lengthy hearings process, including a remedies hearing and a 1998 report following concerns about the settlement process, it became a wider package as the Government sought to settle claims on a district basis. It was further delayed by concern over its mandating process, which led to a report by a QC.
Among the district arrangements has been the Crown signing of a deed of settlement in the past year with Heretaunga Tamatea, and this year has signed deeds with Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa (Te Tira) in May, and Rangitāne o Wairarapa and Rangitāne Tamaki nui-ā-Rua in August.
The Ahuriri Hapu settlement includes a range of remedies, headed by apologies for Crown policies which rendered the seven hapu near landless, including losses stemming from incarceration in the conflicts of 1866 which were remembered in 150th anniversary memorials last month.
Along with financial and commercial redress will come cultural redress including establishment of a permanent statutory authority, Te Komiti Muriwai o Te Whanga, to promote the protection and enhancement of the environmental, economic, social, spiritual, historical and cultural values relating to Ahuriri Estuary, while other recognition includes reverting the Napier hills (including Bluff Hill) to the historic name of Mataruahou.
Commercial redress includes a right to purchase the Crown shareholding in Hawke's Bay Airport and first right of refusal over the Crown's shareholding in Hawke's Bay Airport Ltd.
Buses leave Whakatu tomorrow at 5.30am and the signing at Parliament is expected to start at 11am.