A $6.8 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement claim has been signed with Auckland iwi Te Kawerau a Maki.
The Crown signed the deed of settlement for all outstanding historical Treaty claims with the iwi at Makaurua Marae in Mangere, Treaty negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson announced yesterday.
The settlement includes cultural, financial and commercial redress of $6.5 million - used to purchase 86 per cent of Riverhead Crown Forest Licence land at Te Onekiritea Point in Hobsonville, and a contribution of $300,000 towards the establishment of a marae.
The forest would be a significant commercial asset for the iwi, Mr Finlayson said.
Further cultural redress includes the vesting of nine significant cultural sites to the iwi.
Te Kawerau a Maki's claims were based on the Crown's actions and omissions, including extensive Crown purchases in the three decades following the signing of the Treaty in 1840.
Reserves that had been set aside for Te Kawerau a Maki were never protected and were gradually alienated from tribal control, Mr Finlayson said.
The iwi was subsequently rendered virtually landless which had a severe impact on the health and well-being of the Te Kawerau a Maki community, with effects that continue to be felt today, he said.
"While we can never fully compensate for the wrongs of the past, this settlement will enable the people of Te Kawerau a Maki to focus on developing a strong cultural and economic future.
"Signing this deed of settlement signifies a new relationship between the Crown and Te Kawerau a Maki and is a significant step towards the goal of settling Treaty claims in Auckland and all historical grievances across New Zealand,'' Mr Finlayson said.
The Crown was represented at the signing of what was the 69th deed of settlement signed by the Crown by Mr Finlayson, Minister for Whanau Ora Tariana Turia and Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.
The signing was witnessed by Members of Parliament Claudette Hauiti and Tau Henare. The Maori King, Kiingi Tuheitia, and representatives of other iwi also attended.
The settlement will come into effect through legislation.