Counting on another deal

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 21/07/2014
Te Ngutu o Te Manu Reserve.
DEENA COSTER
Return: Te Ngutu o Te Manu Reserve.

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The next chapter of a South Taranaki iwi's history is set to be written in the coming weeks.

But a chance to have more than a century of hurt, pain and anger acknowledged is something Ngaruahine's chief treaty negotiator Daisy Noble said would still be met with mixed emotions when the iwi group sign on the dotted line at their pending treaty settlement on August 1.

"With these things, there always are," she said.

Voting on the historic deal closed last Friday and the results are likely to be known tomorrow.

Noble expects anger, sadness, grief as well as happiness to be on display if the deal is formalised.

"On that particular day, we all come to grips with history."

She said the package she played a key role in negotiating was for the benefit of all iwi and would put the group firmly back on the financial, social and political map.

Ngaruahine has already developed a 25-year strategic vision for its people, based on the tenets of social responsibility, cultural competence, financial security as well as the development of meaningful relationships with local, regional and central government.

And for Noble, relationships are everything.

She said although everyone understood the financial benefits of the settlement, for her the key achievement of it has been how iwi has strengthened and developed its relationship with the Crown and the South Taranaki District Council.

In what is considered a rare move, in addition to Ngaruahine signing its deed of settlement with the Crown, the iwi will also enter into a formal agreement with the council, which will outline how the parties will work together into the future.

"Its an opportunity to show the rest of the country that communities can come together," Noble said.

This opportunity is also something South Taranaki district mayor Ross Dunlop, who will sit next to iwi members at August's ceremony, is also looking forward to.

"I think the settlement process has given everyone an opportunity to reflect on our responsibility to each other and to the district. We all want the best for our district and we both understand this is most effectively achieved when we work together," he said.

Dunlop said he always considered council had a good relationship with the iwi but it had definitely strengthened in recent years and would continue to do so.

"This is just another positive milestone," he said.

Dunlop said the significance of the day, on both a personal and professional level, was not lost on him.

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"It will be very emotional," he said.

While preparing for the signing ceremony, Noble too has her eyes firmly on the future of her iwi.

Although the cash injection will provide iwi with options it never had before, the responsibility of the longer term health and well-being still belonged with its own people, she said.

She said younger iwi members in particular needed to start stepping up to the plate.

"It's time for the young ones to move this through," Noble said.

 

NGARUAHINE'S DEAL:

● A Crown acknowledgment of wrongdoing and an apology

● A return of cultural properties to iwi, including Te Ngutu o Te Manu Reserve in Okaiawa

● A cultural fund of $661,000

● A deferred ability to buy specific Crown properties for up to two years after settlement. These include the Te Rua o te Moko farm block, a Kaipi St property in Manaia and several surplus school sites

● A deferred ability to buy specific council-owned properties for up to five years after the settlement date

● Total treaty package worth $67.5 million 

- Taranaki Daily News

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