Iwi to vote on $11m Treaty settlement

22:30, Nov 15 2012
Amai Thompson
Moving forward: Te Atiawa member Amai Thompson stands in front of the meeting house at Waikawa Marae. He will be one of thousands given the chance to vote on whether the iwi should accept a Crown settlement proposal by December 14.

A 20-year quest for recognition of wrongs committed against Te Atiawa Manawhenua ki Te Tau Ihu and the Treaty of Waitangi may end with iwi representatives signing an $11 million settlement with the Crown before Christmas.

The Crown has proposed a deed of settlement and post-settlement governance entity to the iwi over its Wai 607 claim to the Waitangi Tribunal for loss of land and resources due to unfair treatment by the New Zealand Company and the Crown following the signing of the Treaty in 1840.

The deed of settlement covers all the iwi's historical claims and includes $11.76m from which the iwi will buy Crown forest licensed land and other Crown-owned properties such as schools.

At Waikawa Marae on Saturday, Te Atiawa Manawhenua ki Te Tau Ihu Trust will hold the first of nine ratification hui throughout New Zealand for members to vote on whether to accept the settlement.

Trust representatives may sign the deed on December 21 if members have voted in favour by the December 14 cutoff date.

A spokesman for Attorney-General and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the Crown acknowledged and apologised for breaches under the Treaty. The settlement will also include cultural redresses and the vesting of 20 cultural sites, protocols with government agencies, and placename changes.


Te Atiawa trust chairwoman Glenice Paine said the ratification would be a chance for iwi members to "meet and reflect" on the contribution they had made over the past two decades to create the settlement.

"Special mention must be made about those kaumatua who had the foresight in initiating the Waitangi Tribunal claims and the commitment to continue on with the claims process with little or no resources. Sadly, many of those kaumatua are no longer with us."

All affiliated iwi members over the age of 18 can vote by attending a hui, posting their ballot or online.

The trust board's claim, filed in 1996, relates to loss of land and authority through transactions with the New Zealand Company and Crown purchases.

The board claimed the iwi was left with insufficient reserves, which were then processed by the Native Land Court. It also claimed public works land acquisitions, such as for the Waikawa rifle range, affected the iwi. The claim included environmental, customary fisheries and socio-economic issues.

The Marlborough Express