Today marks a significant milestone between Maniapoto and the Crown; the signing of the Deed of Settlement (DOS), a process that has taken over 30 years to complete.
“It has been a long journey for our people to reach the point to where we are today” says Maniapoto Māori Trust Board (MMTB) Chair, Keith Ikin.
“No settlement will ever compensate for the mamae we have endured for many generations. We reflect on the courage and sacrifice of our tūpuna and the generations of our people who have gone before us. We held fast to our mana whakahaere and achieving a relationship with the Crown that reflected the expectations our forebears set out in their signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, within Te Ōhākī Tapu and within the Kawenata of 1903. Today, we hold fast to the expectations our elders have set. The way forward is a new relationship with the Crown that is real partnership and respects the rangatiratanga of whānau, hapū and marae within Te Nehenehenui.”
The settlement package includes financial redress which will in total be worth approximately $177 million ($165 million plus interest and accumulated Crown Forest Rentals), relationship agreements with various Crown agencies, the transfer of 36 sites back to Maniapoto as cultural redress, first right to purchase Crown lands in the future and recognition by the Crown of our story, their Treaty breaches and a formal apology for those breaches.
“For those whānau who have committed over the last 30 years to the Waitangi Tribunal process, to informing the settlement and the design of the proposed new governance entity, we acknowledge your hard work and commitment. At the forefront of our thoughts are those who committed to this settlement over many years, who are no longer with us today.”
Now that the DOS has been signed, a bill will be introduced and read three times in Parliament before being officially made a law. Once legislated, all financial, commercial and cultural redress will be transferred to the PSGE; Te Nehenehenui Trust.
“Unfortunately, Covid-19 alert levels have prevented us from holding an iwi wide DOS ceremony for all whānau to attend this year as planned. It is important, however, that we are all able to acknowledge such a significant occasion, so a ceremony will be held with our people and the Crown at home, within the rohe, when Aotearoa has reached Alert Level 1. We believe this significant day should be inclusive of all of us.”
“The transition from signing to setting out our future direction, is a critical time for all of our whānau. A key focus is to engage with our people on a five-year plan to provide understanding and clarity on the direction forward for the benefit of our mokopuna and generations to come. We expect engagement with whānau on the 5 year plan, to commence before April next year” says Mr Ikin.
A copy of the DOS will be available online at www.govt.nz/browse/history-culture-and-heritage/treaty-settlements/find-a-treaty-settlement/maniapoto