• Nick Smith

Conservation Minister Nick Smith today welcomed the achievement of a significant step towards settling Ngaati Ruanui's Treaty of Waitangi claim the signing of a Heads of Agreement by Ngaati Ruanui and the Crown.

"I am pleased that conservation has been able to contribute to the proposed settlement in an appropriate way while still advancing conservation values.
While the Heads of Agreement is non-binding, and will be followed by further discussions, it will form the basis of a formal Crown offer to Ngaati Ruanui."

"Some specific conservation sites of significance to Ngaati Ruanui have been proposed for return, such as a pa site within the Otoki Gorge Scenic Reserve.
Ngaati Ruanui has plans to restore another small area the Rehu Village Conservation Area. One of the most important things that has come from this stage of the settlement is the strengthening of the working relationship between DOC and Ngaati Ruanui."

There is no redress proposed in the Heads of Agreement relating to the confiscation of Mt Taranaki in 1865. This matter will be addressed at a later date in the settlement process when all eight Taranaki iwi are in a position to negotiate on this issue. However, any cultural redress that is agreed will recognise the cultural, traditional and historic importance of the mountain to all Taranaki iwi, while also recognising the interests of the people of New Zealand generally.

"During these discussions, we have been guided by the same principles as with other settlements. Our experience to date is that, where a settlement has been
reached, a solid base for development together has also been achieved. This is certainly the case with Ngaati Ruanui to date. Conservation values have not been compromised and the relationship between the Crown and Ngaati Ruanui has been strengthened and improved."