Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust has completed its negotiations with the Crown to comprehensively settle historical claims for breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi by the Crown on behalf of Ngāti Rangitihi uri.
Trustees of Te Mana and the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Hon Andrew Little, today initialled the Deed of Settlement in Parliament, in the presence of Ngāti Rangitihi representatives, including kaumātua and rangatahi.
The initialling of the Deed of Settlement is the end of negotiations and signals the start of the ratification process – an iwi-wide voting process where adult registered members of Ngāti Rangitihi will have the opportunity to have their say on whether or not to approve the settlement package.
Te Mana Chairman Leith Comer says the journey to settlement for Ngāti Rangitihi spans more than a decade.
“While we have been in direct negotiations with the Crown since 2015, we acknowledge all those Ngāti Rangitihi claimants who submitted Waitangi Tribunal claims for Te Tiriti o Waitangi breaches by the Crown — those who have passed on, and those who are still with us,” says Mr Comer.
“While we are living with the consequences of the losses and mamae today, it is our tīpuna who were there when land was lost and who suffered directly. Our mokopuna will benefit from the settlement if it is approved, but we must not forget those that started the journey for us.”
“I thank our team of Negotiators and Trustees who have pushed hard to negotiate the settlement for our people. I thank all our Ngāti Rangitihi members for their support over the years, which has enabled us to get to this point.”
Mr Comer says, if approved, this settlement will help achieve a number of aspirations for the Iwi.
“It will enable the return of lands that are culturally and spiritually significant to us, and it acknowledges our important role as kaitiaki of our whenua and awa.”
The Deed of Settlement includes an Historic Account, Crown Acknowledgements of how and when it breached Te Tiriti, and the Crown’s Apology. It sets out the return of culturally significant lands, relationship agreements with Government agencies, and an entity to restore and protect Tarawera Awa (with $500,000 of funding), as well as Financial Redress of $11.3 million. Te Mana will receive $4 million plus interest in addition to the interest in forest lands valued at $7.3 million that were part of the 2008 Central North Island Forest Lands Collective Settlement (CNI).
Mr Comer urges all Ngāti Rangitihi descendants to register with Te Mana.
“This is a critical point of our settlement journey and we want all our whānau to have the opportunity to have their say by voting on this significant kaupapa.”
Voting on the Deed of Settlement will take place from 24 July to 23 August 2020. There will be a series of Information Hui held in Matatā, Hamilton, Rotorua, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch where members will have the opportunity to ask questions on the settlement package negotiated.