Focus on the Land
Settlement for Gisborne iwi
Friday, July 27, 2012
TWO Gisborne iwi can now move forward after their settlement bills passed their final reading in Parliament yesterday.
Manutuke and Muriwai-based iwi Rongowhakaata and Ngai Tamanuhiri settlements can now be enacted into law.
The Waitangi Tribunal described the Treaty breaches against Turanga iwi as among the worst anywhere in New Zealand and included some of the “darkest moments” of our nation’s history.
Included in the settlement for Manutuke-based Rongowhakaata was financial redress of $22.24 million from the Crown.
One of the oldest surviving meeting houses, Te Hau ki Turanga — currently based at Te Papa museum — would be returned to iwi ownership and potentially relocated to Gisborne.
The settlement also included specific redress for Nga Uri o Te Kooti Rikirangi, the descendants of Te Kooti.
A 20-year journey was nearly complete and the iwi could now begin to move on with the next stage of addressing the return of the meeting house, said Rongowhakaata spokesman Stan Pardoe.
“We’ve got an outcome we can live with and our story should be told more widely,” he said.
Muriwai-based Ngai Tamanuhiri claims included financial redress of $11.07 million and the return to iwi of Young Nick’s Head reserve, which could be officially renamed Te Kuri a Paoa.
A memorial to commemorate iwi members who lost their lives at the hand of the Crown will also be erected.
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said the settlement journey for both Ngai Tamanuhiri and Rongowhakaata, which included Nga Uri o Te Kooti Rikirangi, had been a long one.
The tribunal had also issued a challenge to present government, she said.
“While only one side remembers the suffering of the past, dialogue will always be difficult,” the tribunal’s report said.
“One side commences the dialogue with anger and the other side has no idea why. Reconciliation cannot be achieved by this means.”
The redress was a “long overdue” recognition of the “bitter grievances” including the illegal imprisonment of a quarter of the adult male population of Turanga on the Chatham Islands by the Crown, said Ms Turia.
“These settlement bills therefore become a benchmark for all New Zealanders to assess the progress we have achieved since the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840,” she said in Parliament yesterday.
“The Crown’s relationship with Ngai Tamanuhiri has involved some of the darkest episodes in the country’s history and that sense of grief and loss suffered by and the impact on Ngai Tamanuhiri remains with us all — but more particularly for the iwi who are represented here today.”
The Ngai Tamanuhiri and Rongowhakaata claims were two of four settlement bills passed unanimously yesterday.
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said it marked the end of a long journey for these claimants and enabled them to enjoy the benefits of settlement and look forward to a stronger future.
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