Crown Offer Accepted by Ngai Tuhoe Settlement Negotiators

  • Christopher Finlayson
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

After consultation with iwi members, Te Kotahi a Tuhoe have accepted the Crown’s offer to settle the historical claims of Ngai Tuhoe, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson and Ngāi Tuhoe Chief negotiator Tamati Kruger announced today.

“The Crown and Ngai Tuhoe will now work together to develop a Deed of Settlement by the end of 2012,” Mr Finlayson said. “Once completed, the Deed will be initialled by the negotiators. If the deed is then ratified by iwi members, the settlement will be signed and given effect through legislation.”

“This is an historic day confirming the ability of the Crown and Tuhoe to work together into the future, according to the Relationship Agreement signed by us in 2011”, Tamati Kruger said. 

I am delighted to reach the goal of a Crown offer that can be developed into a Deed of Settlement,” Mr Finlayson said.

“Ngāi Tuhoe’s history shows clearly why it is so important to settle genuine historical Treaty grievances,” Mr Finlayson said.

“The conditions in Te Urewera, which contains some of our most deprived and isolated communities, show the very real and continued effects of the Crown’s Treaty breaches on the daily lives of Ngāi Tuhoe people in the present.“

“Huge areas of the iwi’s land were wrongly confiscated, and more purchased unjustly. Military campaigns against Tuhoe prisoners and civilians were described even at the time as ‘extermination’, and the Crown employed a scorched earth policy in Tuhoe settlements in the Te Urewera.”

“All elements of the proposed settlement are important but the redress relating to Te Urewera is vital to both parties,” Mr Finlayson said. “For Ngai Tuhoe recognition as tangata whenua in Te Urewera is essential. For both the Crown and Ngāi Tuhoe, the maintenance of the values of a national park is equally important.  It became clear to both parties that ownership neither by the Crown nor Ngāi Tuhoe was essential to reach these goals.”

During negotiations, Tuhoe also conducted its own extensive consulting with stakeholders in Te Urewera, such as conservation, hunting and recreation groups. “We discovered that all groups share a real common purpose in protecting Te Urewera’s unique identity,” Mr Kruger said.

Te Urewera will have its own legislation and exist as a separate legal identity.  It will be governed by Crown and Ngai Tuhoe nominees acting on its behalf.  Ngāi Tuhoe will have an increasing role in management over time, with the Department of Conservation also retaining its role.  The Department of Conservation will work with Ngai Tuhoe to enhance Te Urewera as a place of outstanding natural, recreational and cultural value.

Both parties are keen to seek higher international recognition for Te Urewera such as a UNESCO biosphere reserve to promote the areas’ unique values.  The legislation will include key provisions from the National Parks Act such as the protection of natural and historic heritage, public input into management and public access into the future.

“This new structure will allow the historical, cultural and spiritual connection between Te Urewera and Ngai Tuhoe to be fully recognised for the first time while the biodiversity of the area is protected and enhanced and public access is guaranteed for all New Zealanders,” Mr Finlayson said.

“The status of Te Urewera is unique and we have together developed an innovative, New Zealand made settlement proposal,” Mr Kruger said.

The offer includes redress valued at approximately $170 million, inclusive of  Tuhoe’s share in the Central North Island forestry on-account settlement in 2008.

The offer also includes the implementation of the social Services Management Plan announced last month, under which government agencies will work with Tuhoe to ensure better delivery of social services such as housing, education and health to its communities.

The Crown and Ngāi Tūhoe will discuss the offer with neighbouring iwi, including Ngai Manawa and Ngati Whare who have existing Treaty settlement redress over parts of Te Urewera, and ensure their interests in Te Urewera will also be provided for. This includes redress provided to Ngati Manawa over their ancestral mountain, Tawhiuau.

(Documents following: Offer summary, Questions and answers, history of Tuhoe and Te Urewera. Map of Te Urewera attached.)

Crown Offer to Ngāi Tuhoe for the settlement of Historical claims for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi


Historical Account and Crown Apology

·         A commitment to an historical account of the relationship between the Crown and Ngāi Tuhoe, acknowledgement of breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles and a Crown apology for these most serious breaches.

Te Urewera

·         The land in the current Te Urewera National Park will be vested in a new legal identity created by legislation.

·         The identity will be represented by a Governance Board with equal numbers of Crown and Ngāi Tuhoe appointees at establishment and chaired by a Ngāi Tuhoe nominee.

·         The Board will have the responsibility of approving a management plan for Te Urewera with advice from the New Zealand Conservation Authority.

·         Both parties are keen to seek higher international recognition for Te Urewera such as a UNESCO biosphere reserve to promote the area’ unique values.

·         The legislation will include key provisions from the National Parks Act such as protection of biodiversity, natural and historic heritage, public input into management and public access into the future.

·         Ngāi Tuhoe will have an increasing role in management over time with DOC also maintaining their role.

Mana Motuhake

·         Mana motuhake redress relates to improved relationships between Ngāi Tuhoe and the Crown and the delivery of government and iwi services to Ngāi Tuhoe communities and includes;

o   The Crown/Ngāi Tuhoe relationship agreement signed in 2011 provides a foundation for how Tuhoe and the Crown will work together

o   A social Service Management plan governing relationships with, and the management and delivery of services by, key Crown agencies and Tuhoe over the long term

o   Relationship agreements with other Government agencies and exploration of such agreements with key local authorities.

Financial Commercial and Cultural Redress

·         Financial, Commercial and Cultural Redress package of approximately $170 million inclusive of the redress provided to Ngāi Tuhoe through the Central North Island Forests Land Collective Settlement 2008.

Questions and Answers

Is Lake Waikaremoana included in this settlement?

No. The Lake bed is owned by the Tuhoe Waikaremoana Trust Board and the Wairoa Waikaremoana Trust Board, leased to the Crown and managed by the Department of Conservation. Maori ownership was recognized by the Courts in 1948 and acknowledged by the Crown when a lease agreement was reached shortly afterwards.

Who will own Te Urewera?

No one will own Te Urewera. The members of the governance board, both Crown and Ngai Tuhoe nominees, will act in the interests of Te Urewera, like trustees or directors of a company. They will not act on behalf of either the Crown or Ngai Tuhoe.

Will Te Urewera still be a National Park?

Te Urewera will have a new legal identity established, and have its governance and management arrangements set out in its own act of Parliament. Key provisions of the National Parks Act will be retained in the Te Urewera legislation, including protections for the natural and historical heritage and public access.

The new legislation will ensure that the land is managed to an internationally accepted standard.

What about public access?

Public access will be guaranteed on the same terms as now.

Who will manage Te Urewera after the settlement legislation is passed?

It will be managed by the Department of Conservation and Ngai Tuhoe with Ngai Tuhoe building their management capacity over time. Te Kotahi a Tuhoe is being advised on conservation issues during negotiations by Landcare Research and have begun to develop their capacity in the management of land with high conservation values.  Tuhoe will continue to build relationships with park and ways for meaningful input.

Will Tuhoe have a veto over any activity in Te Urewera?

It is anticipated the board will make decisions based on consensus. Tuhoe have done a great deal of consultation and outreach with stakeholders and park users, and there is a real shared purpose and common ground in protecting the special character and environment of Te Urewera. The management plan will be consistent with the IUCN standards for national parks and the requirement to maintain public access.

Who will pay?

The Crown will continue to fund the management of Te Urewera through the Department of Conservation as at present.  Ngai Tuhoe expect to make a contribution of their own.

Will this create a precedent for other national parks?

No. This settlement addresses particular history and circumstances.  Te Urewera is unique because the park and Ngai Tuhoe’s core area of interest are almost identical. There are many pockets of Tuhoe land in and around the Park and the two are inseparable and in many cases indistinguishable.  Popular roads and hiking trails currently cross private Tuhoe land.

What is Mana Motuhake?

It is the ability for Ngai Tuhoe to manage their own affairs as much as possible.

What about the redress for Ngati Manawa over Tawhiuau?

This redress will be preserved. The Crown and Ngai Tuhoe recognise that Tawhiuau is the principle maunga of Ngati Manawa and will discuss with Ngati Manawa ways to ensure their interests are protected and even enhanced.

History of Tuhoe and Te Urewera

Tuhoe has suffered some of the worst breaches of the obligations the Crown took on towards all Māori through the Treaty of Waitangi.

Ngai Tuhoe did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi, and the Crown had no official presence in Te Urewera before the 1860s. Ngai Tuhoe, remained in full control of their customary lands until 1865 when the Crown confiscated much of their most productive land, even though they were not in rebellion and the confiscation was not directed at Ngai Tuhoe. The prejudice created by the confiscation was exacerbated by the Compensation Court process which returned much of the confiscated land to other.

After the confiscation the Crown waged war in Te Urewera until 1871 as it sought to apprehend those responsible for the 1865 death of Crown official, and then capture Te Kooti following his escape from Crown detention. The Crown extensively used “scorched earth” tactics, and was responsible for the execution of unarmed prisoners and the killing of non-combatants. Crown officer at the time described it as “extermination”.

In 1870 Ngai Tuhoe were forced out of Te Urewera and detained at Te Putere where they suffered further hardship. The wars caused Ngai Tuhoe to suffer widespread starvation and extensive loss of life.

In 1871 peace was restored to Te Urewera when the Crown withdrew its forces and agreed to leave Ngai Tuhoe to manage their own affairs. 

Between the 1870s and the 1890s Crown pressure and the claims of other iwi led to the introduction into Te Urewera of the Native Land Court, surveying and land purchases despite Te Whitu Tekau opposition. In 1875 the Crown induced Ngāi Tuhoe to sell a large area of land at Waikaremoana by threatening to confiscate their interests if they did not sell.

In 1896 Parliament enacted the Urewera District Native Reserve Act. This provided for local self-government over a 656,000 acre Urewera Reserve, and for decisions about the use of land to be made collectively and according to Māori custom. However, the Crown did not implement the self-government provisions of the Act and undermined its protective provisions.

Between 1896 and 1921 Crown purchasing in and around Te Urewera (some of which was illegal), and roading and survey costs imposed on Tuhoe under the 1921 Urewera Consolidation Scheme resulted in a significant loss of land. Harsh tactics were used to acquire land at Waikaremoana, where the Crown assumed control over Lake Waikaremoana and resisted attempts for decades by Maori owners to secure title to the lake bed.

In 1916, 70 armed police arrested Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana at Maungapohatu. Two Tuhoe men were killed during the arrest. Rua was cleared of eight charges including sedition, but was convicted of moral resistance relating to an earlier arrest attempt and jailed. The Maungapohatu community went into decline after this and has not recovered.

Following the 1921 consolidation scheme Tūhoe were only left with 16% of the Urewera Reserve, much of which was unsuited to settlement or economic development.

In 1954 the Crown established Te Urewera National Park which included most of Ngai Tuhoe’s traditional lands. The Crown did not consult Ngai Tuhoe about this, and did not recognise Tūhoe as having any special interest in the Park or its management. Today around 85% of Ngäi Tūhoe live outside Te Urewera. Those who remain struggle to make a living and face various restrictions placed on the land and resources in the area. Many suffer from socio-economic deprivation of a severe nature.