Stratford police station is among the list of properties to be returned to Ngāti Maru as part of the Taranaki iwi's Treaty of Waitangi claim.
A statement from Te Runanga o Ngāti Maru (Taranaki) Trust said its iwi members have overwhelmingly voted in support of the Ngāti Maru Deed of Settlement – Te Hiringa Taketake. The iwi, which has about 3000 uri (descendants), is the final iwi of Taranaki to complete its Treaty of Waitangi settlement.
The iwi rohe (tribal area) stretches from Taranaki Maunga heading north west to the source of the Waitara River, across to the Heao Stream and down to the Whanganui River and back across the Matemateaonga Range to Stratford. In 1865, the iwi had 220,000 hectares of land, illegally confiscated by the Crown or sold through deals done without the permission of iwi members.
More than 47 per cent of the iwi's adult members participated in the vote, with 92 per cent of those who voted, voting in favour of accepting the terms of the Deed of Settlement. The terms include a Crown apology, completion of its $30 million financial redress, a cultural revitalisation fund, relationship agreements with Government agencies, and 16 cultural redress properties being returned to the iwi. The list of properties to be returned includes Stratford police station, which will be leased back to the Crown, as well as Tarata and Matau School properties, part of Tarata cemetery and Te Wera Forest. The settlement package will be managed by the iwi's post-settlement governance entity Te Kāhui Maru.
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Te Runanga o Ngāti Maru Trust lead negotiator Anaru Marshall said he is delighted with the outcome.
"This is a very positive result and highlights how important this decision was to all our whānau who participated. Our whānau have waited over 20 years and we are now at a significant step of signing the deed so it can be passed into legislation."
Ngāti Maru is also part of the collective Taranaki Maunga negotiations, which is now the only outstanding claim in Taranaki.