Saturday, April 20, 2024

Whakatōhea Claims Settlement Bill passes first reading

Te Whakatōhea has witnessed the passing of the first reading of the Whakatōhea Claims Settlement Bill at Parliament for their historical Treaty of Waitangi claims.

Whakatōhea is an iwi based in the Bay of Plenty region and includes Ngāi Tamahaua, Ngāti Ira, Ngāti Ngahere, Ngāti Patumoana, Ngāti Ruatākena and Te Ūpokorehe hapū. They have a population of approximately 16,000 members.

“Today’s milestone follows more than three decades of negotiations between Whakatōhea and the Crown, and marks a major step towards realising the aspirations of Te Whakatōhea descendants today, and for generations to come,” Treaty Negotiations Minister, Andrew Little said.

The historical grievances of Te Whakatōhea against the Crown include the unjustified invasion, occupation and raupatu (confiscation) of Whakatōhea land in the 1860s. Crown troops killed many members of Whakatōhea, including non-combatants, and adopted a scorched earth policy, destroying homes, crops and livestock.

“Whakatōhea first petitioned Parliament for redress in 1914, and they were among the first iwi to enter settlement negotiations with the Crown in the 1990s,” Mr Little said.

“Today’s first reading, more than a hundred years on from that first petition, marks a significant step in the restoration of the relationship between Whakatōhea and the Crown.”

This settlement includes a Crown apology, agreed historical account, and financial and cultural redress for historical breaches of the Treaty that caused harm to Whakatōhea.

The redress package includes

  • The reservation of 5,000 hectares of marine space for aquaculture – a first in Treaty settlements to date;
  • More than $100-million financial, cultural, and commercial redress;
  • The transfer of 33 sites of cultural significance, bespoke natural resource and conservation arrangements;
  • Relationship agreements with core Crown agencies.

“While no settlement can fully compensate for the Crown’s past injustices, it is my sincere hope this settlement will support Whakatōhea’s aspirations for a prosperous future for their people,” Minister Little said.

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