Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Long-fought treaty claim settled

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

The long-fought Treaty of Waitangi settlement for the Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua has been passed into law amid much emotion today.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said the third reading marked a significant day for an iwi which had walked a long road to have their grievances settled by the Crown.

Earlier in the day, the Ngati Manuhiri treaty settlement was also passed into law.

Dr Sharples said: "As we moved through the final reading of the Ngati Whatua Orakei Claims Settlement Bill and the Ngati Manuhiri Claims Settlement Bill we were reminded of the terrible injustices inflicted upon these iwi.

"We remembered together the history that has shaped both the hapu and iwi, and the nation.''

He added: "The evictions of whanau from Takaparawhau, the ancestral lands of Ngati Whatua Orakei, resulted in one of the most courageous displays of mana that will forever be remembered in our history.''

The occasion was blemished slightly by the collapse of Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust chairman Grant Hawke in the public gallery at Parliament. He was recovering in hospital this afternoon.

The Ngati Whatua settlement was made up of a Crown apology, an agreed historical account and cultural and commercial redress.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson told Parliament and a near-full public gallery that the bills provided important redress and acknowledgement of the wrongs enacted by the Crown.

"The short story is that the relationship between Ngati Whatua and the Crown failed to live up to its promise.

"Within two decades [of signing the Treaty of Waitangi], Ngati Whatua were rendered virtually landless. With landlessness came poverty and marginalisation within the growing settler community in Tamaki.''

The claim covered 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.

The commercial redress would include $16m in cash and about $1m in interest that will be used partly to pay for $120m of New Zealand Defence Force housing and operational land on the North Shore.

- NZ Herald

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