Great day for Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa

Published: Tue 17 Nov 2009 03:45 PM
Beehive Chat
A column published in the WhaNgānui Chronicle
By Tariana Turia
MP for Te Tai Hauauru
Tuesday 17 November 2009
Great day for Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa
Today Ngā Wairiki / Ngāti Apa embarks on a very special journey in terms of our Treaty of Waitangi claims. It’s a journey that we can’t quite call the end but at least the beginning of the end.
Today in the chambers of Parliament, the first reading of the Ngāti Apa ( North Island) Claims Settlement Bill will be read for the first time.
The public gallery in Parliament will likely be full of Ngā Wairiki / Ngāti Apa representatives who have come to share in the historic occasion
As many of you will know, I too am from Ngā Wairiki / Ngāti Apa and on both a personal and professional level I am heartened to see that our significant and long standing grievances will soon be brought to an end.
The bill will settle all of Ngā Wairiki / Ngāti Apa (North Island)’s historical Treaty of Waitangi claims.
Our tribe’s area of interest extends from the north of Foxton up to south of WaNgānui, and runs east from the coast along the Oroua River, past Hunterville.
The historical grievances relate primarily to the Crown’s purchase in 1849 of the 260,000 acre Rangitikei-Turakina Block, including the subsequent failure to adequately protect approximately 35,000 acres of reserves set aside from this transaction.
Our claims also relate to native land laws which led to a break-down in traditional structures and alienation of nearly all of our tribe’s remaining land.
In November 2007, Te RūnaNgā o Ngāti Apa was mandated and since then they have put their heart and soul into bringing about this settlement.
Late last year the runaNgā asked its registered adult members whether or not they agreed to the deed for this settlement and the post-governance entity that would manage it. About 35% of them cast a vote and of these 97% voted in favour.
The settlement package will see, among other things, an apology from the Crown, commercial and financial redress totalling $16 million and a right to purchase 6,500 hectares of Crown forest licensed land and certain other Crown-owned properties and assets.
It will also see a cultural redress package designed around the aspirations of Ngāti Apa including the gifting of five papakāiNgā properties and the transfer of 12 sites of significance – nine of which are public conservation lands, which will also see public access guaranteed.
Settling these claims is an extremely significant step toward Ngā Wairiki / Ngāti Apa’s future and I can not thank enough all of those dedicated Ngā Wairiki / Ngāti Apa people, including the many who have since passed on, and ministers of government, including the Hon Chris Finlayson, for their tireless work and dedication in helping to moving our tribe forward.

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