Ngati Turangitukua Claims Settlement Bill - Second Reading

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Associate Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiation

The Ngati Turangitukua Claims Settlement Bill (the Bill that implements the settlement between the Crown and Ngati Turangitukua) was introduced to the House on Thursday 17 June 1999.

In the 1950s, in response to post World War two needs for rapid expansion of energy resources to meet the growing industrialisation in New Zealand, the Crown developed the Tongariro Power Development (TPD) proposal. At that time, it was the largest hydro development to be undertaken in New Zealand. The TPD required a large construction force, and accommodation of that force, for the duration of the project.

Four sites were considered for the township to accommodate the project workers. The Crown decided upon the provision of a permanent township at Turangi West, on land adjacent to the existing Turangi village and owned by Ngati Turangitukua.

The Crown met with Ngati Turangitukua in September 1964 to discuss the scope of the TPD including the land required for the township. At the hui, Ngati Turangitukua agreed in principle that the township be constructed on Ngati Turangitukua land, subject to certain assurances and undertakings given by the Crown.

The construction of the TPD and the township began almost immediately after the September meeting.

The Treaty Claim

In 1989, Ngati Turangitukua lodged a claim (Wai 84) with the Waitangi Tribunal, seeking compensation for breaches of the Treaty by the Crown prior to, during and after the construction of the Turangi Township.

The Waitangi Tribunal heard Wai 84 under urgency between April and October 1994, and the Tribunal's Turangi Township report was released in September 1995.

The Tribunal found that the Crown had breached the principles of the Treaty in a number of ways:

  1. the Crown acquired Maori land at Turangi West when Crown land at Turangi East was available;
  2. the Crown did not adequately consult with Ngati Turangitukua regarding the construction of the township;
  3. the Crown had promised to take no more than 800-1000 acres for the township but took 1665 acres instead;
  4. land for industrial purposes was compulsorily acquired rather than leased for 10-12 years as promised;
  5. compensation for land acquired was inadequate;
  6. Wahi tapu were destroyed or damaged during construction of the town;
  7. conservation values were not fully supported by the Crown in the development of the town;
  8. the Crown did not pay Ngati Turangitukua full respect as tangata whenua; and
  9. the use of the Public Works Act 1928 and the Turangi Township Act 1964 to acquire land was inconsistent with the guarantee contained in Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi that Maori may keep their land until such time as they wish to sell.

The Tribunal found that as a result of the Crown's breaches of the principles of the Treaty, Ngati Turangitukua lost much of its ancestral land. Its social and economic base was seriously eroded causing spiritual, cultural and economic prejudice to Ngati Turangitukua.

Following the release of the Tribunal report, the Crown and Ngati Turangitukua entered into negotiations to seek resolution of Ngati Turangitukua's grievances.

The Remedies Report

Negotiations between the Crown and Ngati Turangitukua broke down in June 1996. In July 1996, Ngati Turangitukua was granted a remedies hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal to identify with more specificity the contents of any settlement package for Wai 84, including the resumption of properties subject to section 27B of the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986. That hearing was held at Hirangi Marae in July 1997.

The Waitangi Tribunal released its Turangi Township Remedies Report on 6 July 1998. The Tribunal made interim binding orders that 15 commercial properties, in both Crown and private ownership and subject to section 27B of the State - Owned Enterprises Act 1986, be returned to Ngati Turangitukua. The value of these binding orders was approximately $3.2million. This was the first occasion that the Tribunal had made interim binding orders under that Act. The Tribunal also made non-binding orders worth approximately $3.8million.

Following the release of the remedies report, the Crown and Ngati Turangitukua had 90 days to achieve a negotiated settlement or the interim orders would become binding, and the Crown would be required to resume the 15 properties.

The Crown and Ngati Turangitukua held negotiation meetings between 6 July 1998 and 26 September 1998. On 26 September 1998, the Crown and Ngati Turangitukua entered into a Deed of Settlement in which the Crown agreed to provide certain redress to effect a final settlement of all Ngati Turangitukua's historical claims relating to the development and construction of the Turangi Township and its after effects. As a result of the negotiated settlement, the Crown and Ngati Turangitukua made a joint submission to the Waitangi Tribunal seeking cancellation of the interim orders except in relation to one property of particular cultural importance, Turangitukua House.

The Settlement Package

The settlement is made up of the following elements:

The Crown Apology,

People often dismiss this as a show case and nothing else, but it is a meaningful element and its significance should not be underestimated. It is also a humbling experience for the Crown.

In the Deed of Settlement, the Crown apologised to Ngati Turangitukua for:

    1. a protocol between the Department of Conservation and Ngati Turangitukua, which provides for Ngati Turangitukua's input into conservation management within its rohe.
    2. title to several reserves in, or in the environs of Turangi, owned by the Crown or the Taupo District Council will pass to Ngati Turangitukua, with management and control retained by the Taupo District Council, and public access and enjoyment protected. And I stress that public access and enjoyment are protected.
    3. the Department of Conservation's Admirals Reserve will be renamed Waikari Recreation Reserve.
    4. the Taupo District Council has given a non-binding undertaking to consult Ngati Turangitukua on ways to identify and preserve wahi tapu sites;
    5. Environment Waikato has given a non-binding undertaking to investigate Ngati Turangitukua's concerns about water quality and contamination and facilitate a kaitiaki group to monitor and maintain the quality of the waterways around Turangi; and (these are useful and meaningful).
    6. the Ministry for the Environment will monitor the performance of Environment Waikato and the Taupo District Council generally and in relation to the commitments they have given Ngati Turangitukua.

    Ancillary Claims

    During the course of the 1994 Waitangi Tribunal hearings, a number of ancillary claims affecting individual Ngati Turangitukua people, or sites, emerged.

    As part of the settlement package, the Crown and Ngati Turangitukua agreed to negotiate in good faith towards the creation of a legally enforceable process for the resolution of the remaining ancillary claims.

    On 21 December 1998, the Crown and the ancillary claimants entered into an Ancillary Claims Deed, which sets out an agreed, legally enforceable process for the resolution of these claims.

    What is Settled

    The Bill provides that, in return for the package detailed above, the settlement of the Ngati Turangitukua claims is final. It provides that no court or tribunal has jurisdiction to inquire into the claims covered by the Deed of Settlement, the Ancillary Claims Deed, or this Bill.

    This claim has been prosecuted, heard, negotiated and now it is to be settled. Kia Ora