Tuhoe Deed of Settlement Negotiations Completed

  • Christopher Finlayson
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

The Crown and Te Kotahi a Tuhoe, the mandated negotiating body of Tuhoe, have completed negotiations on a Deed of Settlement to settle the historical claims of Tuhoe, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson and Tuhoe Chief Negotiator Tamati Kruger announced today.

The Deed was initialled by Te Kotahi a Tuhoe and the Crown at a ceremony in Parliament today. The Deed is now subject to ratification by all members of Tuhoe. If ratified, the Deed will be implemented following passage of the settlement legislation through Parliament.

“This settlement reflects the very serious nature of the breaches by the Crown of its obligations, and their continued consequences to this day,” Mr Finlayson said. “Large scale confiscation of the best agricultural land, brutal military campaigns targeting Tuhoe settlements, and later unjust land purchases are all Crown behaviour that has made a harmonious relationship with Tuhoe impossible. Tuhoe’s history shows clearly why it is so important to settle genuine historical Treaty grievances.”

“Our people now have the final say on whether we accept the settlement proposed in this Deed,” Mr Kruger said “As mandated negotiators we have done all we can to ensure that the settlement is a good one and can be the foundation for a new and positive relationship between Tuhoe and the Crown.”

“The Government believes this settlement is acceptable to Tuhoe and good for all New Zealanders,” Mr Finlayson said. “For more than a 100 years many Tuhoe have felt alienated by the actions of the Crown. This Deed and the process by which it has been negotiated give us the chance to begin that relationship again, on a firmer foundation, by both acknowledging the past and providing for the future.”

The settlement includes Crown acknowledgements of breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles, a Crown Apology for those breaches, an agreed historical account of the relationship between the Crown and Tuhoe, redress relating to Te Urewera, Mana Motuhake redress incorporating a social service management plan for the Tuhoe rohe, and a financial and commercial redress package totaling $170 million.

“All parts of the settlement are important to us and will give us the opportunity to make choices about our people and our communities that have not previously been possible,” Mr Kruger said. “If one part of the redress stands out more than others it is the recognition given to Te Urewera and our relationship to our homeland. At the same time we recognize that many others value Te Urewera. The settlement recognizes this complexity and provides a framework for those values to be expressed.”


Crown Offer to Tuhoe for the settlement of Historical claims for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi

History of Tuhoe and Te Urewera

Tuhoe has suffered some of the worst breaches of the obligations the Crown took on towards all Māori through the Treaty of Waitangi.

Tuhoe did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi, and the Crown had no official presence in Te Urewera before the 1860s. Tuhoe remained in full control of their customary lands until 1865 when the Crown confiscated much of their most productive land, even though they were not in rebellion and the confiscation was not directed at Tuhoe. The prejudice created by the confiscation was exacerbated by the Compensation Court process which returned much of the confiscated land to other.

After the confiscation the Crown waged war in Te Urewera until 1871 as it sought to apprehend those responsible for the 1865 death of Crown official, and then capture Te Kooti following his escape from Crown detention. The Crown extensively used “scorched earth” tactics, and was responsible for the execution of unarmed prisoners and the killing of non-combatants. Crown officer at the time described it as “extermination”.

In 1870 Tuhoe were forced out of Te Urewera and detained at Te Putere where they suffered further hardship. The wars caused Tuhoe to suffer widespread starvation and extensive loss of life.

In 1871 peace was restored to Te Urewera when the Crown withdrew its forces and agreed to leave Tuhoe to manage their own affairs. 

Between the 1870s and the 1890s Crown pressure and the claims of other iwi led to the introduction into Te Urewera of the Native Land Court, surveying and land purchases despite Te Whitu Tekau opposition. In 1875 the Crown induced Ngāi Tuhoe to sell a large area of land at Waikaremoana by threatening to confiscate their interests if they did not sell.

In 1896 Parliament enacted the Urewera District Native Reserve Act. This provided for local self-government over a 656,000 acre Urewera Reserve, and for decisions about the use of land to be made collectively and according to Māori custom. However, the Crown did not implement the self-government provisions of the Act and undermined its protective provisions.

Between 1896 and 1921 Crown purchasing in and around Te Urewera (some of which was illegal), and roading and survey costs imposed on Tuhoe under the 1921 Urewera Consolidation Scheme resulted in a significant loss of land. Harsh tactics were used to acquire land at Waikaremoana, where the Crown assumed control over Lake Waikaremoana and resisted attempts for decades by Maori owners to secure title to the lake bed.

In 1916, 70 armed police arrested Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana at Maungapohatu. Two Tuhoe men were killed during the arrest. Rua was cleared of eight charges including sedition, but was convicted of moral resistance relating to an earlier arrest attempt and jailed. The Maungapohatu community went into decline after this and has not recovered.

Following the 1921 consolidation scheme Tūhoe were only left with 16% of the Urewera Reserve, much of which was unsuited to settlement or economic development.

In 1954 the Crown established Te Urewera National Park which included most of Tuhoe’s traditional lands. The Crown did not consult Tuhoe about this, and did not recognise Tūhoe as having any special interest in the Park or its management. Today around 85% of Ngäi Tūhoe live outside Te Urewera. Those who remain struggle to make a living and face various restrictions placed on the land and resources in the area. Many suffer from socio-economic deprivation of a severe nature. 


Historical Account and Crown Apology

·         An historical account of the relationship between the Crown and Tuhoe, acknowledgement of breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles and a Crown apology for these most serious breaches.

Te Urewera

·         The land in the current Te Urewera National Park will be vested in a new legal identity created by legislation.

·         The identity will be represented by a Governance Board with equal numbers of Crown and Tuhoe appointees at establishment and chaired by a Tuhoe nominee. Board members will be required to act in the interests of Te Urewera itself, as set out in legislation. After three years Tuhoe will have six nominees on the Board and the Crown three. The Board will be required to make unanimous decisions on certain key issues and otherwise by consensus. Where decisions cannot be reached under these terms there are safeguard provisions that can be invoked by the Chair.

·         The Board will have the responsibility of approving a management plan for Te   Urewera with advice from the New Zealand Conservation Authority.

·         Both parties will seek higher international recognition for Te Urewera such as a UNESCO biosphere reserve to promote the area’ unique values.

·         The legislation will include key provisions from the National Parks Act such as protection of biodiversity, natural and historic heritage, public input into management and public access into the future.

·         Tuhoe will have an increasing role in management over time with DOC also maintaining their role.

·         The new arrangements will be reviewed after five years to see if they are addressing the purposes for which they were designed.

Mana Motuhake

Mana Motuhake redress relates to improved relationships between Tuhoe and the Crown and the delivery of government and iwi services to Tuhoe communities and includes;

·         The Crown/Tuhoe relationship agreement signed in 2011 provides a foundation for how Tuhoe and the Crown will work together.

·         A social Service Management plan governing relationships with, and the management and delivery of services by, key Crown agencies and Tuhoe over the long term.

·         Relationship agreements with other Government agencies and exploration of such agreements with key local authorities.

Financial Commercial and Cultural Redress

·         Financial, Commercial and Cultural Redress package of approximately $170 million inclusive of the redress provided to Tuhoe through the Central North Island Forests Land Collective Settlement 2008.

Questions and Answers

Is Lake Waikaremoana included in this settlement?

No. The Lake bed is owned by the Tuhoe Waikaremoana Trust Board and the Wairoa Waikaremoana Trust Board, leased to the Crown and managed by the Department of Conservation. Maori ownership was recognized by the Courts in 1948 and acknowledged by the Crown when a lease agreement was reached shortly afterwards.

Who will own Te Urewera?

Te Urewera will be its own legal entity under legislation. The members of the governance board, both Crown and Tuhoe nominees, will act in the interests of Te Urewera, like trustees or directors of a company. They will not act on behalf of either the Crown or Tuhoe.

Will Te Urewera still be a National Park?

Te Urewera will have a new legal identity established, and have its governance and management arrangements set out in its own act of Parliament. Key provisions of the National Parks Act will be included in the Te Urewera legislation, including protections for the natural and historical heritage and public access.

The new legislation will ensure that the land is managed to an internationally accepted standard for national parks.

What about public access?

Public access will be guaranteed on the same terms as now.

Who will manage Te Urewera after the settlement legislation is passed?

It will be managed by the Department of Conservation and Tuhoe with Tuhoe building their management capacity over time. Te Kotahi a Tuhoe has been advised on conservation issues during negotiations by Landcare Research and have begun to develop their capacity in the management of land with high conservation values.  Tuhoe will continue to build relationships with park stakeholders so they can have meaningful input.

Will Tuhoe have a veto over any activity in Te Urewera?

Half the board will be Tuhoe and half Crown appointees, moving to six and three respectively after three years. The Deed requires unanimous decision-making in key areas under both arrangements and, where this is not possible, decision-making by consensus or without recorded dissent. Tuhoe have done a great deal of consultation and outreach with stakeholders and park users, and there is a real shared purpose and common ground in protecting the special character and environment of Te Urewera. The management plan will have to be consistent with the IUCN standards for national parks and the requirement to maintain public access.

Who will pay?

The Crown will continue to fund the management of Te Urewera through the Department of Conservation as at present.  Tuhoe will also make a contribution. The parties will share in the cost of the governance entity.

Will this create a precedent for other national parks?

No. This settlement addresses particular history and circumstances.  Te Urewera is unique because the park and Tuhoe’s core area of interest are almost identical. There are many pockets of Tuhoe land in and around the Park and the two are inseparable and in many cases indistinguishable.  Popular roads and hiking trails currently cross private Tuhoe land.

What is Mana Motuhake?

It is the ability for Tuhoe to manage their own affairs as much as possible.

What about other settlements in the area?

There has been close consultation with other claimant groups about this Deed. Agreements have been reached with groups that already have achieved settlements and discussions are continuing with those which have yet to settle. The Crown believes the Deed is compatible with the aspirations of other groups and the redress in this settlement does not preclude redress for others.

What are the next steps?

The initialled deed is now subject to ratification by members of Tuhoe. If the deed is ratified, the deed will be signed by the parties. The Crown will then introduce legislation to Parliament to give effect to the settlement.