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Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Ngati Toa signs $70m final settlement

All Blacks perform the Haka. Photo / Richard Robinson.
All Blacks perform the Haka. Photo / Richard Robinson.

A quarter of a century after first lodging its Waitangi Tribunal claim, Ngati Toa today signed a $70 million final settlement with the Crown which covers the use of the famous Ka Mate haka performed by the All Blacks.

The settlement with the iwi, whose rohe or area stretches from Horowhenua in the lower North Island to almost all of the upper South Island, was signed during a ceremony at Parliament.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson told about 300 iwi leaders and members the settlement "recognises the great span of your rohe in 1840 and how much was then lost in a short span of time following the signing of the treaty".

He acknowledged the "great grief and hurt" to the iwi caused by Crown actions including the undermining of leading Ngati Toa rangatira Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata in the years following the signing of the treaty.

"We can never fully compensate for the wrongs of the past but this settlement enables Ngati Toa to build a stronger future," Mr Finlayson said.

The iwi is to receive financial redress of $70.6 million, including opportunities to purchase and lease back Crown properties and a right of first refusal over surplus Crown properties.

The Crown will also introduce legislation providing Ngati Toa Rangatira with a right of attribution for the Ka Mate haka requiring Te Rauparaha, who composed it, to be acknowledged whenever it used in a commercial setting.

Mr Finlayson said another key part of the settlement was "a multi-faceted redress package over Kapiti Island reflecting its significance to the iwi".

The island, now a conservation haven for native species, was Te Rauparaha's stronghold for a number of years.

The package included vesting of and gifting back of part of the island, the vesting of a total of a further 189ha, and the establishment of a strategic advisory committee and conservation management plan.

A ceremony at which Mr Finlayson will formally apologise to the iwi will be arranged later and legislation giving force to the settlement will be passed next year.

- NZ Herald

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