Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Crown Treaty apology delivered to Ngāti Maru

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister, Andrew, Little has delivered the Crown Apology to Ngāti Maru for its historic breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.

A ceremony was held at Te Upoko o te Whenua Marae at Tarata, hosted by Ngāti Maru, where the Crown also returned land titles to the iwi.

“It is a privilege to deliver the Crown apology to Ngāti Maru kanohi ki te kanohi here at Tarata to honour the commitment the Crown has made to the iwi as part of our renewed partnership,” Minister Little said.

“The Crown Apology is usually delivered at the Deed of Settlement signing, but the pandemic restrictions at that time meant many Ngāti Maru were not able to attend. I made a commitment to Ngāti Maru that we would have a separate event in their rohe so as many Ngāti Maru as possible could witness this significant moment in our history.”

In recognition of today’s events, Ngāti Maru has named the day ‘Te Pūaotanga mai o Maru i te Atatū – the reawakening and re-emergence of Ngāti Maru’.

As part of the ceremony, the Treaty Negotiations Minister handed Ngāti Maru rangatahi framed copies of land titles returned through their Treaty settlement, to symbolise the return of land to Ngāti Maru as the original owners, and as kaitiaki of their whenua.

The Crown has acknowledged a number of acts and omissions of Te Tiriti/the Treaty of Waitangi in regard to its treatment of Ngāti Maru, including its unjust and indiscriminate raupatu (confiscation) of half their tribal lands, the unjust treatment and exile of Ngāti Maru peoples, its unconscionable actions at Parihaka, and actions which rendered the iwi almost completely landless. 

As a consequence, the connection between Ngāti Maru and their whenua was severed, and generations of their people have suffered economic, social, cultural and spiritual hardship.

“I am pleased that this day has come and I was finally able to fulfil my commitment to deliver this apology to so many people who have waited so long. This final step marks a day of restoration, partnership and it is my sincere hope that this settlement brings a vibrant future for all Ngāti Maru,” the Minister said.

The Ngāti Maru rohe is centred on the inland Waitara River valley, east to the Whanganui River and its tributaries, and west to Mount Taranaki. The iwi has approximately 2,800 registered members.

The settlement redress is administered by Te Kāhui Maru Trust: Te Iwi o Maruwharanui, a post-settlement governance entity created by iwi members.

The Deed of settlement was signed February 2021, and the Ngāti Maru (Taranaki) Claims Settlement Act 2022 became law March this year.

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