Ngati Toa battle ends with $70m settlement

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 05:00 21/04/2014

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The Porirua-based iwi Ngati Toa is "elated" after a long battle for Treaty justice ended with a $70 million settlement and the right to buy landmark properties, including Wellington central police station.

"It's a really big day, it's been a long haul and we're very excited and elated," Ngati Toa kaumatua Taku Parai said.

Treaty negotiations began more than 20 years ago, he said.

"This will do a lot for us in terms of our social and economic development."

About $200 million in cash, land and assets will be spread across eight iwi through acts of Parliament which had their final reading on Thursday.

The deeds of settlement also set out redress for top of the south iwi: $28m for Ngati Apa, $25m for Ngati Kuia and $25m for Rangitane, with about $12m each for Ngati Koata, Ngati Rarua, Te Atiawa and Ngati Tama.

Ngati Toa will be offered the chance to buy several properties, many under the condition they are leased back to the Crown organisations using them.

This includes 67 schools, Arohata and Rimutaka prisons, Porirua and Hutt Valley district courts, and Wellington Central police station.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said the signing marked the end of a long journey for all the iwi.

"These settlements will allow the iwi to build a strong base for their people, and allow them to participate fully in the economic, social and cultural life of their regions.

"It is also a milestone for New Zealand as a country, completing the historical settlements in the South Island," Finlayson said.

Ngati Toa's settlement underlines an agreement signed in 2012.

It will come into law when it receives its Royal Assent in coming months.

The settlement will compensate Ngati Toa for the treatment of Te Rauparaha in the 19th century, land seizures, and for the iwi's exclusion from earlier land deals with the Crown.

It includes financial and commercial redress of $40m, $10m to recognise Ngati Toa's maritime domain over Cook Strait, $11.5m to buy numerous Crown properties, and $6.6m for iwi development.

Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples said that the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi had stripped Ngati Toa of both its political and economic power.

"All those things the Crown has taken from the people of Ngati Toa Rangatira can never be replaced, and yet they honour the Crown today with their generosity and their willingness to settle their historical grievances."

NGATI TOA WILL GET:

The right to buy Crown property, including Wellington central police station. Most of these, including many schools, must be leased back to the Crown.

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Rights to Taputeranga Island in Island Bay, of which the Wellington City Council will retain management, and the Akatarawa Rd conservation area.

Rights to Kapiti Island - but this will mostly be given back to the Crown. A small area at the north of the island will remain vested to Ngati Toa but under the management of the Conservation Department. A 1-hectare block will remain under Ngati Toa ownership.

Rights to Taupo Urupa in Plimmerton. Public access will not be affected.

Coastal statutory acknowledgments over Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour.

Statutory acknowledgement over the Hutt River catchment, Red Rocks Scientific Reserve on Wellington's south coast, and Oteranga Bay in Makara.

Special legislation recognising Te Rauparaha as the composer of the Ka Mate haka.

Several place names will be changed, including Porirua Harbour, which will become Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour.

Statutory acknowledgement and deeds of recognition over Lakes Rotoroa and Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park.

- Fairfax Media

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