INDEPENDENT NEWS

Te Uri o Hau Claims Settlement - Sue Bradford

Published: Tue 9 Oct 2001 04:07 PM
9 October 2001
Attention Maori Affairs Reporter
Te Uri o Hau Claims Settlement Bill 2001
First Reading Speech by Sue Bradford
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Kia ora koutou,
Today we celebrate the first reading of the Te Uri o Hau Claims Settlement Bill. I imagine there may be some people who might say, 'What is there to celebrate? The financial compensation these people have settled for is so little, it's not enough, why are they buying into the Government's process?'
Well I have to say that I was fortunate enough, along with some other MPs in this House today, to have been at the Te Uri o Hau and Crown signing ceremony here in Parliament not so many months ago. Along with others here I saw the joy on peoples' faces and felt the sense of profound humility and mana that the people of this generation of Te Uri o Hau feel they have achieved through this agreement.
The Green Party will be pleased to support this Bill through to the Maori Affairs Select Committee, and we hope to work with others to ensure that the Bill goes forward in its best form to its final conclusion.
Some may wonder what I'm doing standing up to speak on this particular piece of Treaty Settlements legislation. Well I think there are two main reasons. The first is that my family and wider whanau live on a small farm at Hoteo North just a short way inland from the Kaipara and a little south of the southern Te Uri o Hau boundary My years of being fortunate enough to live in this rohe under the shadow of the maunga Kitetangeao have lent me a great sense of wanting to give something back to nga tangata tuturu of this place.
The second reason I stand today is that I think it is so important that the Pakeha side of the Treaty process play a conscious role in acknowledging our history and what we are doing here today. I think a lot of Pakeha and other tau iwi often hide from Treaty settlements even in their own district, thinking or saying a range of things from 'It's not my business,' through to 'I wish it would all just go away,' or even 'These Maori don't deserve anything anyway, we're all immigrants here together and there are no historical injustices which need redeeming.'
Well, I'm not a Pakeha to hide from the history of our country, and I stand here simply to acknowledge and to tautoko Te Uri o Hau and the compensation they are achieving here for deeply felt historically acknowledged past wrongs.
The Kaipara Harbour is a wild and beautiful place and I would like, in supporting this Bill, to honour all nga iwi tuturu, nga tangata whenua tatou katoa o Te Taa Hinga - and of the Mangawhai Harbour coastal area. Your efforts in reaching this settlement are playing a critical part in kaitiakitanga, in preserving your heritage - and ours - for all our mokos of the future.
Te Uri o Hau are not a large group - there are about 6000 beneficiaries and I believe this is the smallest group so far to have reached a settlement. I also understand that at the ratification hui and postal ballot which was held to endorse this settlement - or not as the case may be - the result in the end was that more than 82 per cent of the people voted in favour.
This is an impressive majority, and coming from a political party which is heavily into maximising democracy, I congratulate Te Uri o Hau on achieving such a conclusion.
Te Uri o Hau made their own decision to work within the confines of existing Government policy to get the best settlement they could for their people present and future. The financial redress of $15.6 million is not full compensation for all they have lost, nor anything like it - but it is a settlement which reflects the most that this particular group felt they could get at the current time.
If people think it's not enough, then they should address Government Treaty policy as a whole. I do not see it as a role for either my Party or myself in this case to criticise a group who by a large majority have settled after years of hard work and negotiation for the best they felt they could achieve. Te Uri o Hau want to get on with their lives, and fulfilling the process of this settlement will allow them to do that.
One of the most significant parts of this Bill deals with issues of cultural redress. I understand that much of the mahi of the negotiation went into working on this. Many people focus on the financial side of these settlements, but I believe that the very important aspects of this cultural redress package must be acknowledged, and are also perhaps a model that other hapu and iwi can look to in future.
Of particular importance within the cultural redress aspect of this settlement is the Crown's recognition of the Kirihipi overlay area. Te kupu 'Kirihipi' has significant connotations for Te Uri o Hau. The oral history of the people says that Ngati Whatua and the Crown had a unique relationship in the mid 19th century which was recognised by a special treaty written on a sheepskin parchment, which is still known as 'Kirihipi Te Tiriti o Ngati Whatua'.
Over time te kupu 'Kirihipi' came to mean the placing of Te Uri o Hau values on certain pieces of land owned or looked after by the Crown, and it is exciting to see that there is a whole section of the Bill under Part 5 which deals with and acknowledges the Kirihipi overlay area, and the different roles tangata whenua and the Crown will play in relation to this in future.
There was a deep and genuine sense of grievance held by Te Uri o Hau because they believed they had a special relationship with the Crown formed in the 1860s, marked by the Kirihipi Treaty, which was subsequently reneged on by Pakeha, as in so many other parts of the country. So I think there is a valid sense of vindication after many years for Te Uri o Hau in this Bill's acknowledgement of the validity of the Kirihipi overlay areas.
I also think that what we are beginning to see here is a genuine grappling and coming to terms with the very different Maori and tau iwi traditions and concepts of kaitiakitanga and conservation.
>From a Green Party perspective I would commend all involved for their hard work in reaching an acceptable resolution and, as I mentioned earlier, I hope other organisations and roopu who care about the environment around us will look to this settlement for clues as to our way forward on these complex issues in future.
It is exciting too to see the sheer range of areas vested back in Te Uri o Hau under the cultural redress provisions, including of course Manukapua which is of such historical significance as the landing place of the waka Mahuhu ki te Rangi, and as the first home of the tupuna.
I believe this Bill does mark a different kind of homecoming for Te Uri o Hau and I urge all parties in this House to give it their full support.
No reira, e mihi nui ana au e nga iwi tatou katoa o Te Uri o Hau, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
ends

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