Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua were welcomed to Wellington today to witness the passing of the third and final reading of the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Claims Settlement Bill.
Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua are a group of interconnected hapū from the Dannevirke and Wairarapa regions and have approximately 12,000 registered members.
“This is an important day for Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua and the Crown in reaching this milestone after many years of dedication,” said Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister, Andrew Little.
“The settlement process has not been easy, with litigation taking front and centre in recent years. In almost every Treaty settlement there is disagreement about the best way to settle claims both within the settling group, and between the settling group and their neighbours – the path to settlement is rarely smooth and the desire to fully resolve every dispute must be balanced against further delays to long sought Treaty settlement redress.
“Today we have recognised Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua’s long-standing association with the whenua and taonga within their rohe and have provided a foundation that I hope will benefit the generations to come,” he said.
The historical grievances of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua against the Crown include the forced cession of tens of thousands of acres of land at Maungaroa in 1845 as well as the failure to act in good faith during rapid and extensive land purchases throughout the 1850s and in later public works takings. The Crown also failed to honour the gifting of Wairarapa Moana with the promised reserves.
The settlement includes an acknowledgement of, and an apology for, the Crown’s historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi alongside financial and commercial redress valued at $115 million with the opportunity to purchase Crown properties, including most of the Ngāumu Forest Crown Forest licenced land and 28 commercial sites.
It also provides for the vesting of 27 sites of cultural significance and 30 place name changes to acknowledge iwi association with sites in their rohe, and a cross-agency covenant to develop a strategy to enhance the social, cultural, and economic wellbeing of the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua claimant community.
“Today marks a new chapter for the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua claimant community, the people who are at the centre of this Bill, and respects their decision to move forward with their settlement.”
“Their grievances are being recognised and acknowledged by the Crown and while no settlement can ever truly atone for the past actions and omissions of the Crown, I hope this settlement can allow Ngāti Kahungunu to focus on their aspirations for the future,” said Mr Little.