PM gives formal apology to Te Arawa

  • Helen Clark
Prime Minister

The Prime Minister formally delivered an apology to Te Arawa today at Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua, for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi relating to 14 lakes in the Rotorua area.

She marked the occasion by presenting Te Arawa with a photograph of each of the fourteen lakes subject to settlement, and a Maori translation of the Deed of Settlement. She was accompanied by Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton, Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia, and Associate Treaty Negotiations Minister Mita Ririnui.

Te Arawa's Treaty of Waitangi claims in respect of fourteen lakes were settled with the passage of legislation in September this year which transferred the beds of thirteen of those lakes to Te Arawa, as well as payment of $10 million. The $10 million included $2.7 million for the settlement of historical claims and $7.3 million to buy out the annuity paid to the Te Arawa Mäori Trust Board pursuant to a 1922 Crown-Te Arawa agreement concerning the ownership of the lakes.

The settlement also included an apology from the Crown for breaches of the Treaty in respect of the lakes and for the negative impact of the Crown's actions on Te Arawa's rangatiratanga over the lakes.

"The grievances of the past go back beyond the living memory of the people here today, but their effects have lingered for too long. The Crown is pleased to be able to put right the wrongs of the past, and I am honoured to deliver this apology on behalf of the Crown," Helen Clark said.

Mark Burton said that the Prime Minister delivering the apology in person is an important part of rebuilding the relationship between the Crown and Te Arawa.

A settlement over the remaining historical claims of a large proportion of Te Arawa has also recently been agreed, with legislation to implement that settlement expected to be passed in 2007.

"The Treaty settlement process strengthens the relationship between the Crown and iwi and is helping to lay the foundations for a strong and confident sense of national identity," Mark Burton said.