Treaty deal to recognise tribe's rights over All Blacks haka

By Yvonne Tahana

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Rights over the Ka Mate haka will form part of a deal due to be signed with iwi today.

A special provision has been made for the haka in Ngati Toa Rangatira's proposed settlement package.

No other settlement has attempted to deal with intellectual property issues before.

For years Ngati Toa have been unhappy with commercialism surrounding the haka. The 2006 Fiat ad in which Italian women gave a slap-dash rendition and most recently a Hollywood rugby movie Forever Strong annoyed iwi members because of the profit associated with the products.

Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira is negotiating the settlement, which includes recognition of the cultural significance to Ngati Toa and authorship - it was written by their famous ancestor Te Rauparaha.

The Herald understands that the Crown does not expect royalties from Ka Mate will go to the iwi, nor will a veto right apply.

But the Crown will work with Ngati Toa to address their concerns in a way that balances their rights with the wider public's.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said as nothing had been signed he would not comment. Runanga officials also declined to comment.

However, sources say the agreement only sets out Crown expectations. Commercial opportunities for Ngati Toa in relation to the haka could still be on the table.

"These are the Government's expectations, but it's got to be tempered against the fact that there are going to be further discussions."

Sources said the All Blacks will not be affected and neither will ordinary Kiwis.

"It's when it is appropriated for quite explicit commercial exploitation that we would want to have some sort of say."

Iwi representatives and Mr Finlayson will today sign a letter of agreement, a significant marker along the way to full and final settlement.

As part of the settlement, Ngati Toa will receive $75.35 million in redress, with an additional $45.6 million made up of accumulated rentals on Crown forestry land and emissions credits.

Te Rauparaha's kidnapping and detention for 18 months, during which much of the tribe's land was sold - a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi - will also be acknowledged.

The iwi, whose boundaries cover the lower North Island from Rangitikei to Wellington and the top of the South Island, is one of three in the region signing agreements today.

The others are Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust and Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga.

- NZ Herald

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