Haka in $300m Treaty deal

Sharples: Negotiations were especially complex

BY TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 22:41 10/02/2009

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The haka made famous by the All Blacks, Ka Mate, has been recognised in an historic Treaty deal.

Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust, Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga and Ngati Toa Rangatira, who together represent eight iwi, signed letters of agreement with the Crown this morning.

The three groups received over $170 million in redress and $128m in Crown forest rental, emission credits and other payments.

The $300 million deal settles three big Treaty claims and breaks new ground by recognising the Ngati Toa tribe's authorship of the haka, and apologising for the Crown's treatment of its composer, Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha.

The deal will not give Ngati Toa the right to veto use of the haka or the ability to claim royalties, but the Crown has acknowledged Ngati Toa's concern over the misappropriation and culturally inappropriate use of Ka Mate.

Ngati Toa has a long-standing grievance over widespread use of the haka without its permission, including for money-making purposes, and had sought to copyright it.

It was also acknowledged that the detention in 1846 of Te Rauparaha without trial for 18 months breached the Treaty. Much of the tribe's lands were sold during his imprisonment.

The National Government and Treaty Settlements Minister Chris Finlayson have moved swiftly to keep up the pace of Treaty settlements since taking office and Prime Minister John Key will be at today's ceremony to mark their significance.

Together, the three settlements affecting big parts of the Wellington region and the top of the South Island are worth about $300 million, and settle claims by Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust from the top of the South Island, northern South Island tribe Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga and Ngati Toa, whose tribal lands stretch from Rangitikei in the north and span Cook Strait.

The $300 million figure includes $171 million in direct redress from the Crown and about $128 million in Crown forest rentals and emission credits.

The Ngati Toa deal is understood to include $40 million cash, less the market value of any commercial properties transferred on settlement, $10 million recognising the Crown's actions in undermining the maritime authority exercised by Ngati Toa over Cook Strait in the 1800s, and first right of refusal on Crown properties for the next 169 years.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said the ability to reach a settlement was a huge step forward for any iwi, because it demonstrated a high level of organisation and determination,

"Perhaps only those who have been through the process understand fully what's involved," he said.

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It meant gathering people together, researching the history, identifying the issues and preparing claims, appointing negotiators and securing a mandate, dealing with neighbours and sorting through overlapping interests.

It could also involve presenting claims to the Waitangi Tribunal, all the while working with teams of Crown officials and lawyers in detailed negotiations, he said.

"I want to pay special tribute to the eight iwi who are signing today, because of their particular circumstances," he said.

"The number of iwi, the turbulent history of this area, and the extent of overlapping interests among themselves and with their neighbours, have made these negotiations especially complex.

"I am certain they have succeeded only through high levels of mutual respect, and enormous goodwill and generosity. The fact that all eight iwi are here today is testament to the rangatiratanga they have shown throughout the process."

Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga - a grouping of four tribes that are part of the settlement - said it was significant step toward building an economic base for future generations.

Tainui Taranaki chair Roma Hippolite said it was "a milestone event in an incredible long and hard journey for the iwi involved".

It had been a difficult process to fulfil the requirements of the Crown to get a settlement and at the same time to meet the needs of our people, he said.

"We are very mindful that the settlement we have before us represents such a small part of what each iwi lost," he said.

"However, we all agree it is time to move on and focus on what we can achieve for future generations."

There was still much work to be done before the settlement is finalised, he said.

"Over the next few weeks we will be out on the road meeting with our people and explaining the detail of the deal and then seeking their comments on it."

NGATI TOA:

Today's deal is worth $120 million to Ngati Toa, whose tribal area spans the lower North Island from Rangitikei in the north, the Kapiti Coast, Hutt Valley and Wellington areas and large areas of the Marlborough Sounds as well as much of the northern South Island. About $75 million of that is redress from the Crown, while about $45 million comes from Crown forest rentals and emissions credits.

Kapiti Island reserves will be vested in Ngati Toa, but gifted back for the benefit of all New Zealanders. In return, the tribe receives land on which to build a visitor centre.

Other sites to be vested in Ngati Toa, with public access rights, at places including Mana Island, Queen Charlotte Forest, Whitireia Park, Island Bay and elsewhere, totalling 21 hectares.

Money for a building to store and display Ngati Toa taonga and $1.5 million to buy three vacant schools in the Wellington area.

Gifting of Crown commercial properties up to a value of $10 million, and the right to buy others.  

- with NZPA

* Comments on this story are now closed.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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