New era for Far North and West Auckland iwi

  • Te Ururoa Flavell
Maori Development

A new chapter in a 30-year effort by iwi in the Far North to seek redress for Crown breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi began in Parliament today with the introduction of the Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill. 

The breaches resulted in large scale loss of lands and had a devastating impact economically, socially and culturally on the four Te Hiku iwi – Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kuri and Ngāi Takoto. In 2008 Te Hiku iwi decided that a collective approach to negotiations would make it easier to deal with the complexities presented by their overlapping areas of interest.

“Having had a long and protracted history involving many high profile Māori leaders including Matiu Rata and Dame Whina Cooper, this is a significant day that many Te Hiku people have waited for,” said the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell.

The omnibus bill includes recognition of Te Hiku iwi as kaitiaki of Te Oneroa a Tōhē (Ninety Mile Beach) and as kaitiaki of Te Ara Wairua and Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga.

It provides for co-governance arrangements for the Beach; and the development of a management regime for Te Rerenga Wairua.  Five farms, the majority of Aupōuri Forest and adjoining lands to the Beach and Te Rerenga Wairua are also included in the settlement along with a financial redress package of $120 million. 

Mr Flavell said the financial and commercial redress would provide a much needed boost for Te Hiku iwi to grow an economic base with potential for local investment and job creation. 

The Te Kawerau a Maki Claims Settlement Bill which also had its first reading today, was marked by sadness following the recent death of prominent kaumātua Eru Thompson

A descendant of Te Kawerau ā Maki, Eru Thompson had been actively involved in many areas across Tāmaki Makaurau as a cultural advisor and kaumātua. He was a member of the kaumātua board of Department of Internal Affairs and chair of the Auckland Regional Economic Development Māori component.

Te Kawerau ā Maki has customary interests that extend from the Tāmaki isthmus, north through West Auckland and lands around the upper Waitematā Harbour and North shore into south Kaipara and Mahurangi.  

By the mid-twentieth century, due to the Crown’s repeated actions and omissions Te Kawerau ā Maki had been left virtually landless.

“After 150 years of alienation from their whenua; and a negotiations process stretching back nearly seven years we have begun to lift the burden off Te Kawerau ā Maki,” said Mr Flavell.

The Bill provides for financial redress of $6.5 million and the vesting of nine sites totalling 31 hectares.

A contribution of $300,000 will assist to establish a marae at Te Onekiritea Point (Hobsonville); and land at Te Henga will allow Te Kawerau ā Maki to establish an urupā. Other land will also be vested in the iwi.  Many of the areas are currently Department of Conservation lands and will come with covenants or reserve status.

As well as the return of sites in the West Auckland area, Te Kawerau Pā on Tiritiri Matangi Island will be vested in Te Kawerau ā Maki.