Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Treaty deed of settlement signed

A deed of settlement has been signed between Maniapoto and the Crown, marking a significant milestone towards resolving their historical Treaty of Waitangi claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Andrew Little said today.

Maniapoto is an iwi-based in Te Rohe Pōtae (the King Country), in and around Taumarunui, Mōkau, Pureora, Te Kūiti, Ōtorohanga, Te Awamutu and Kāwhia. The iwi has an estimated 45,930 members, with more than 90-percent of them living outside of the rohe.

“The signing of this deed is testament to the decades of hard work and negotiations between Maniapoto and the Crown, and signifies the beginning of a new relationship between both parties based on trust, co-operation and partnership,” Minister Little said.

“Maniapoto’s historical grievances relate to loss of life in conflicts with the Crown and bearing the costs of the New Zealand Wars. The Crown deliberately undermined Maniapoto independence, failed to uphold promises made in the 1880s relating to Maniapoto land administration and self-determination, and acquired Maniapoto land in an aggressive manner.”

The deed includes an acknowledgement and apology by the Crown for its breaches of the Treaty towards Maniapoto.

“The redress package is one of the largest negotiated and includes financial and commercial redress of $165 million, the return of 36 sites of cultural significance in Crown ownership, a greater role in the management of natural resources within the Maniapoto rohe, the gift and gift back of “Te-Ara-o-Tūrongo” (part of the North Island Main Trunk railway line), and agreements with a range of Crown agencies,” the Minister said.

“Due to COVID-19 Maniapoto and the Crown were unable to commemorate this historic signing together in person, but I look forward to delivering the Crown apology in person at a suitable time when it is safe to do so.

“I hope this long overdue settlement provides a foundation for the cultural, social and economic future of Maniapoto and their descendants,” he said. 

Claims on behalf of Maniapoto were filed in the late 1980s with The Waitangi Tribunal who conducted an inquiry into the claims between 2006 and 2020. Maniapoto obtained a mandate to negotiate in 2016 then reached an agreement in principle in 2017. The deed was initialled in December 2020 and ratified this year.

A bill will be introduced to Parliament to enact the settlement into law. This is likely to take place by the end of the year, the Minister said.

A copy of the deed of settlement will be available online at www.govt.nz/browse/history-culture-and-heritage/treaty-settlements/find-a-treaty-settlement/maniapoto

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