Three Treaty settlement bills pass first reading

  • Christopher Finlayson
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

The House of Representatives sat through extended hours this morning to pass the Te Urewera-Tūhoe  Bill, Ngāti Haua Claims Settlement Bill and Ngāti Koroki Kahukura Claims Settlement Bill through their first readings. The bills have been referred to the Māori Affairs select committee.

“The Te Urewera-Tūhoe Bill, which will settle the historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Ngāi Tūhoe and create a new legal identity for Te Urewera, addresses some of the most appalling acts by the Crown in New Zealand’s history,’ Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson said.

“The unanimous support in the House today shows just how important this House regards these bills as being for iwi, the Crown and all New Zealanders.”

The Te Urewera-Tūhoe Bill will eventually be split into two bills. The Tūhoe Claims Settlement Bill, and Te Urewera Bill. The former includes an agreed historical account, Crown acknowledgements and apology, the return of culturally significant sites and commercial redress including the right to purchase commercial redress properties. 

“At the heart of the bill is the innovative redress to restore the relationship of Ngāi Tūhoe with Te Urewera,” Mr Finlayson said. “The Te Urewera Bill will create the new legal identity for Te Urewera and establishes a governance board, comprising Crown and Tūhoe representatives to ensure the interests of Te Urewera itself are protected.”

The Ngāti Haua Settlement Bill and the Ngāti Koroki Kahukura received their first readings as cognate bills. The bills will settle all outstanding historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of two Waikato –based iwi, Ngāti Haua and Ngāti Koroki Kahukura.

Ngāti Haua will receive $13 million of financial and commercial redress and the return of culturally significant sites such as the mountain Maungakawa, located within Te Tapui Scenic Reserve.

The Ngāti Koroki Kahukura Settlement includes financial and commercial redress of $3 million and vests the Crown-owned Maungatautari scenic reserve in te hāpori o Maungatautari / the Maungatautari Community.

“It is not possible to fully compensate for the losses of the past but these bills settle the grievances of the past in a way that allows us to move forward through the iwi’s generosity of spirit,” Mr Finlayson said.

Copies of the deeds of settlement are available on the Office of Treaty Settlements’ website