Occupation will not advance Treaty claims

  • Christopher Finlayson
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

Land occupations will not help members of Ngati Kahu achieve settlements of historical Treaty grievances, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson said today.

Members of a Ngati Kahu hapu have occupied private land near the Taipa Reserve. The occupiers have Treaty claims related to the Taipa Reserve land.

Mr Finlayson said he would not respond to occupations, nor negotiate with the occupiers.

"There is a proper process for negotiating historical Treaty claims with mandated iwi representatives. That process does not include occupying privately- or Council-owned land. These actions will not do anything to advance the claims of this group or of Ngati Kahu as a whole."

"The Treaty settlement process provides a path for iwi to work through their grievances with the Crown and receive appropriate redress which recognises financial, commercial and cultural needs," Mr Finlayson said.

Ngati Kahu signed an Agreement in Principle with the Crown in January for the settlement of all historical claims.

"The Treaty settlement process is comprehensive and looks at all historical grievances an iwi might have and the big picture of how a fair settlement might be reached," Mr Finlayson said. "The benefits which these substantial settlements can bring outweighs concerns about discrete issues."

"Ngati Kahu have mandated negotiators," Mr Finlayson said. "Members of Ngati Kahu need to bring their issues to the negotiating table through those negotiators, rather trying to raise them through land occupation. This would allow them to move forward with reaching a Deed of Settlement so that benefits of settlement can start flowing to their iwi."