Sunday, July 14, 2024

Wairarapa lakes return to iwi ownership

Representatives of the Crown yesterday joined Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu at Papawai Marae to mark the return of Wairarapa Moana to iwi.

“The legal transfer of the ownership of Wairarapa Moana is the final chapter in a fraught dispute between the Crown, settlers, and Wairarapa Māori spanning more than a century,” said Treaty Negotiations Minister, Paul Goldsmith.

“In 1896, Wairarapa Māori gifted Wairarapa Moana and its surrounding reserves to the Crown through chiefly gifting. A promise was made to provide suitable land nearby, but this was never honoured. Instead the Crown provided Wairarapa Māori land years later far away.

“The Crown recognises that this was a source of considerable grievance for Wairarapa Māori. Today we commemorate the original tīpuna who partook in the tuku rangatira and the generations of Ngāti Kahungunu and Rangitāne who lived through the pain of displacement and disconnection,” he said.

The joint redress includes the establishment of the Wairarapa Moana Statutory Board comprising iwi, Crown, and council appointees who are tasked with governing, administering and managing Wairarapa Moana and the surrounding reserves, the Minister said.

“I am humbled to be able to honour the intent of the 1896 Tuku Rangatira, which was to ensure the good health of Wairarapa Moana for the benefit of everyone,” said Māori Crown Relations Minister, Tama Potaka.

“Nōku te whiwhi ki te tautoko i te whakapuawaitanga o te Tuku Rangatira kia ora ake te rarapa o Wairarapa Moana mō tātou katoa,” hei tā Minita Potaka.

“I look forward to strengthening our partnership with Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne and Wairarapa Moana Statutory Board and demonstrating that the Crown has learnt from its past mistakes.”

“Ki te ake ake tātou ko Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne me te Poari ā Ture mō Wairarapa Moana e taea ana te whakapakari te mahi tahi, me te whakatauira te anga whakamua mō te Karauna ki kore e warewaretia ngā wheako o nanahi.”

Rangitāne o Wairarapa Tamaki nui-ā-Rua and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua settled their historical Treaty of Waitangi claims with the Crown in 2017 and 2022 respectively. 

The return of Wairarapa Moana is a result of joint redress between the two iwi through Te Rohe o Rongokako Joint Redress Act 2022.  

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