Passion and tears marked the hearing of public submissions on the Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill in Dargaville yesterday.
The passion came as many of the eight submittors heard by Parliament's Maori Affairs Select Committee voiced emotional criticism of Crown failure to include Kaharau and Te Taraire wahi tapu at Waimamaku in the 2000ha of land Te Roroa will receive in its Treaty of Waitangi settlement.
The tears came as barefoot Waipoua ecologist Stephen King told the eight committee members - Dave Hereora (chairman), Georgina te Heuheu, Pita Sharples, Pita Paraone, Chris Finlayson, Tau Henare, Mita Ririnui and Charles Chauvel - about the embarrassment he felt over the Government "profiteering" from Te Roroa ancestral land it was "exploiting".
Mr King placed before the committee a 1.7-metre-tall kauri sapling which he cut in half low on the trunk to symbolise Te Roroa being "cut off at the knees".
The Rev. Daniel Ambler told the committee the presumption that Te Roroa should pay for burial grounds taken by the Crown was a mockery and cultural insult.
"We never sold Kaharau. The caves were raped of everything in them and now they want us to buy those places back."
Mr Ambler said the Waitangi Tribunal had recommended the return of Kaharau and Te Taraire "no matter what cost to the Crown this may involve". His submission included calls for the inclusion of the two wahi tapu in the settlement bill and the return of Te Roroa koiwi (bones) and other taonga taken from Waimamaku caves and now held in museums.
Will Ngakura, of Waimamaku, said justice would not be done and no settlement finalised for his people until Kaharau was returned. He did an impressive haka blending challenges and laments to air his feelings on the issue.
Mr Ngakura also took part in a Te Roroa Manuwhenua and Whatu Ora Trusts submission calling on the Crown to increase the $9.5million settlement in the bill to $15million to help the iwi recover ancestral lands. The trusts also asked for an extension of the 20 days following passing of the bill in which Te Roroa could buy at 2005 prices deferred selection properties such as five Aranga farms the Government bought years earlier for the settlement. The price of the properties rises to current market rates after 20 days and the trusts want more time to raise money for their purchase.
Garry Hooker, of Dargaville, said only 100 genuine Te Roroa adults - plus 18 children aged under 10 - had signed the deed of settlement so it would be unsafe to say the iwi had agreed to a final deal. Also, although the terms of settlement had been supported by two - Sharon Murray and Alex Nathan - of the five negotiators, the dissenting negotiators - Mr Hooker, Daniel Ambler and Robert Parore - had been "brushed aside by a desperate Crown".
Discrimination was suggested, he said, by the bill providing nothing specific for the hapu of Ngati Kawa, Ngati Whiu and Te Kuihi and failing to distinguish between west coast Te Roroa and Te Roroa hapu ki Whangae and Te Haumi.
He gave a detailed analysis of faults he saw in the settlement and offered 21 recommendations to remedy them.
The settlement bill received its first hearing on March 1. The select committee has a reporting date of June 1, after which the bill will get a second reading.
* Govt TAMPERING ALLEGED
Allan Titford still owns a Maunganui Bluff farm acquired by the Crown for the Te Roroa settlement, a submission tabled at a parliamentary Maori Affairs Select Committee hearing in Dargaville yesterday claims.
Claiming Government officials tampered with the farm sale agreement and deed, the submission from One New Zealand Foundation chairman Ross Baker calls for a public inquiry into the Te Roroa claim before the iwi's Treaty of Waitangi Settlement Bill proceeds. The submission includes three Government versions of sale and deed papers showing words altered and a page removed.
Mr Baker also says the Crown has no documentary evidence to back up its 1990 agreement that the Manuwhetai and Whangaiariki areas on Mr Titford and Donny Harrison's former Maunganui Bluff farms were intended to be reserved from sale when the Crown bought land from Maori in the 19th century.
That submission, and others, are expected to be heard by the committee in May.