'Arduous' treaty claim to end today

The land at Fort Takapuna, Narrow Neck, is the subject of a row over a treaty deal for Maori tribe Ngati Whatua. Photo / Dean Purcell
The land at Fort Takapuna, Narrow Neck, is the subject of a row over a treaty deal for Maori tribe Ngati Whatua. Photo / Dean Purcell

A decade-long quest for recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi's past transgressions will be completed at Parliament today where Members of Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua Orakei will see their Treaty Settlement Bill passed into legislation.

The reading will be the third and final for the Ngati Whatua Orakei Claims Settlement Bill, first lodged by the Trust Board in 1993 and then entered into direct negotiation with the Office of Treaty Settlements in May 2003.

The Wai 388 claim covers the loss of 32,000 hectares in the Tamaki isthmus, including parts of the North Shore, West Auckland, plus the seabed, foreshore, and reclamations in the Waitemata Harbour and northern parts of the Manukau Harbour.

Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust chairman Grant Hawke said the journey to see the claim fulfilled had been "arduous".

"Many of our people have put years of work into inching this settlement to conclusion and some who did monumental work have passed on which means it is a day of contrasts, of delight and sadness," he said.

"So putting those two emotions together I would say we are philosophical about reaching this point."

The settlement is made up of a Crown apology, an Agreed Historical Account, and cultural and commercial redress.

The apology is an important part of the settlement as it acknowledges that the actions of the Crown were wrong, Hawke says.

The Crown admitted that it "profoundly regrets and is deeply sorry for its actions which left Ngati Whatua o Orakei virtually landless by 1855".

"This state of landlessness has had devastating consequences for the social, economic and spiritual wellbeing of Ngati Whatua o Orakei that continue to be felt today," it added.

The Agreed Historical Account is also of great significance, Hawke pointed out.

"This is an important historical document that sets out what happened and that both parties agree that this account is a true record of events. I urge all Aucklanders to read this document. Ngati Whatua Orakei has been through so much in the past but we are now looking to the future and making investments to help support our whanau and tamariki to succeed," he said.

The cultural redress will include the return of 33 hectares at Pourewa Creek, the acknowledgement of Ngati Whatua Orakei's cultural interests in Kauri Point and its purchase of 99 Owens Road, Epsom.

The commercial redress will include $16 million in cash and around $1 million in interest that will be used partly to pay for $120 million of North Shore New Zealand Defence Force's housing and operational land.

- nzherald.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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