Ngāti Maru signs $30 million settlement with Crown

By RNZ

The Crown has apologised and signed a $30 million settlement with Ngāti Maru, after more than 150 years since the raupatu (confiscation) of half of the iwi’s land.

The iwi rohe (tribal area) of Ngāti Maru stretches from the eastern side of Mt Taranaki to the source of the Waitara River, across to the Heao Stream and down to the Whanganui River and back across the Matemateāonga Ranges to Stratford.

In 1865, the iwi had 220,000ha of land, the vast majority of which was illegally confiscated by the Crown or sold through dubious deals done without the permission of iwi members.

The signing of a settlement has been a long time coming for the iwi who have been in negotiations since late 1980s. An in-principle agreement was reached two years ago.

The Deed of Settlement includes a set of acknowledgements addressing the Crown’s historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.

As well as financial redress, the $30 million agreement also contains commercial redress with the vesting of 16 sites of cultural significance, including Pūrangi and Tarata Domains.

In a statement, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little acknowledged the Crown’s unjust and indiscriminate raupatu and subsequent effects, which he described as devastating to the mana, welfare, economy, and socio-cultural development of Ngāti Maru.

“As a result of the Crown’s acts and omissions Ngāti Maru have been left virtually landless, and their people displaced and dispersed,” Little said.

The imprisonment of Ngāti Maru members between 1879 and 1881 for peaceful resistance at Parihaka was also a significant burden on the iwi, Little said.

“While no redress can ever fully compensate for the destructive and demoralising effects of Crown actions, I hope this settlement will allow Ngāti Maru to realise their aspirations for a vibrant economic and cultural future, and restores a relationship based on mutual trust, respect, and cooperation.”

Lead negotiator Anaru Marshall previously told RNZ the return of land would be a significant component of the settlement.

“Ngāti Maru, we started with 220,000 hectares in our tribal estate. That’s over the years whittled down to less than 900 hectares, so land is a big thing for us … for example Te Wera Forest and that’s a big one for us, because we have a deep connection with that area. And areas around Tarata and Purangi as well.”

Te Kāhui Maru, the iwi’s post settlement entity, will manage the land package.

Ngāti Maru is the final iwi of Taranaki’s eight tribes to complete its Treaty of Waitangi settlement. It is also part of the collective Taranaki Maunga negotiations.

-RNZ

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