A profoundly moving and emotional ceremony at Wharekawa Marae last weekend saw Ngāti Pāoa sign their historic deed of settlement with the Crown.
The settlement includes the return of culturally significant Ngāti Pāoa lands, financial redress of $23.5 million, Crown acknowledgments of how and when it breached the Treaty of Waitangi and the Crown’s apology.
“A challenge for us is to forgive the Crown, it’s a huge challenge but they deserve it,” Ngāti Pāoa Iwi Trust chairperson Glen Tupuhi said as he pointed towards tamariki who sat listening to their kaumatua.
Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little said that while no settlement could fully compensate Ngāti Pāoa for what the iwi has lost, “a wide range of redress has been negotiated to provide for the historical and cultural recognition of Ngāti Pāoa and to regrow their economic base to provide for Ngāti Pāoa’s future prosperity.”
“The Crown acknowledges that until today it has failed to deal with the long-standing grievances of Ngāti Pāoa and that recognition of, and redress for, these grievances is long overdue,” said the Minister.
Treaty settlement negotiations between the Crown and Ngāti Pāoa have taken around eleven years to complete. The Deed of Settlement acknowledges that the Crown’s actions left Ngāti Pāoa virtually landless and undermined their economic, social and cultural development, breaching te Tiriti o Waitangi and its principles. • Sophie Boladeras
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