The Tuhoe settlement


After consultation with iwi members, Te Kotahi a have accepted the Crown’s offer to settle the historical claims of Ngai Tuhoe, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson and Ngāi Tuhoe Chief negotiator Tamati Kruger announced today.

“The Crown and Ngai Tuhoe will now work together to develop a Deed of Settlement by the end of 2012,” Mr Finlayson said. “Once completed, the Deed will be initialled by the negotiators. If the deed is then ratified by iwi members, the settlement will be signed and given effect through legislation.”

That is a huge achievement. Many thought no settlement would ever be reached. The history of grievances so extensive, that a resolution acceptable to the Crown and Tuhoe was so difficult. Some may associate Tuhoe with the clown Tame Iti, but that is unfair. They have just over 30,000 members and there were some appalling things happen in the past such as the Volkner Incident.

I’m no fan of these claims for water and wind and the like. But I do think settling the historical grievances is very important – both for the Iwi involved and New Zealand. The historical settlements have been taking place over the last 20 years and the end is in sight.

Patrick Gower blogs:

The Government’s settlement with Tuhoe can be described in one word: monumental.

Monumental because it overcomes over 150 years of grievances.

Monumental because of the reconciliation of the most fractured relationship between the Crown and Maori.

Monumental in financial redress – it matches the other big settlements even though Tuhoe is not as big population wise.

Monumental because Te Urewera – a National Park – will instead become its own legal entity.

And monumental because of the possibilities that “Mana Motuhake” opens up for Tuhoe to develop as its own nation in the decades to come.

Tuhoe suffered some of the worst breaches by the Crown – the “scorched earth” policy, confiscation, the execution of unarmed prisoners – known at at the time as “extermination”.

But now Minister Chris Finlayson has found a way to settle it.

He has reached agreement with Tuhoe and for that he needs to be applauded – it will be his legacy.

The details of the settlement are here. With Te Urerewa the settlement is:

Who will own Te Urewera?

No one will own Te Urewera. The members of the governance board, both Crown and Ngai Tuhoe nominees, will act in the interests of Te Urewera, like trustees or directors of a company. They will not act on behalf of either the Crown or Ngai Tuhoe.

Will Te Urewera still be a National Park

Te Urewera will have a new legal identity established, and have its governance and management arrangements set out in its own act of Parliament. Key provisions of the National Parks Act will be included in the Te Urewera legislation, including protections for the natural and historical heritage and public access.

The new legislation will ensure that the land is managed to an internationally accepted standard for national parks.

What about public access?

Public access will be guaranteed on the same terms as now.

Will this create a precedent for other national parks?

No. This settlement addresses particular history and circumstances. Te Urewera is unique because the park and Ngai Tuhoe’s core area of interest are almost identical. There are many pockets of Tuhoe land in and around the Park and the two are inseparable and in many cases indistinguishable. Popular roads and hiking trails currently cross private Tuhoe land.

Also some details on the history:

Ngai Tuhoe did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi, and the Crown had no official presence in Te Urewera before the 1860s. Ngai Tuhoe, remained in full control of their customary lands until 1865 when the Crown confiscated much of their most productive land, even though they were not in rebellion and the confiscation was not directed at Ngai Tuhoe. The prejudice created by the confiscation was exacerbated by the Compensation Court process which returned much of the confiscated land to other.

After the confiscation the Crown waged war in Te Urewera until 1871 as it sought to apprehend those responsible for the 1865 death of Crown official, and then capture Te Kooti following his escape from Crown detention. The Crown extensively used “scorched earth” tactics, and was responsible for the execution of unarmed prisoners and the killing of non-combatants. Crown officer at the time described it as “extermination”.

In 1870 Ngai Tuhoe were forced out of Te Urewera and detained at Te Putere where they suffered further hardship. The wars caused Ngai Tuhoe to suffer widespread starvation and extensive loss of life.

In 1871 peace was restored to Te Urewera when the Crown withdrew its forces and agreed to leave Ngai Tuhoe to manage their own affairs.

Between the 1870s and the 1890s Crown pressure and the claims of other iwi led to the introduction into Te Urewera of the Native Land Court, surveying and land purchases despite Te Whitu Tekau opposition. In 1875 the Crown induced Ngāi Tuhoe to sell a large area of land at Waikaremoana by threatening to confiscate their interests if they did not sell.

Off memory the major outstanding settlement now is for the Far North Iwi.

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