Since first being lodged, the claims of Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa have proved highly contentious. 30 years later an element of contention was still evident during today’s signing of their treaty of Waitangi settlement by the Crown.
According to Pita Pangari of Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa, “It’s good that they stand in opposition because they have the right to speak their thoughts. But from my point of view our ancestors have petitioned long and hard calling for the return of our lands and today they are being returned.”
In 2007 the then Treaty minister, Dr Michael Cullen was forced to flee by protesters, many opposing the signing of the agreement in principle. However, the current Minister, Chris Finlayson hasn't let any past or current contention deter him from today’s proceedings.
“You can either refuse to settle and keep on talking or bite the bullet and get the settlement done and then move on from there. There comes a time when you just can’t keep talking you've gotta do things and that's what the negotiators have recognised here,” said Minister Finlayson.
The boundaries of Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa are clarified in today’s settlement but those opposing it say that under the crowns handling of the issue the boundaries of the area under claim have moved to encompass more area than what it rightfully should.
Those still upset say that the issue was never fully discussed or resolved amongst the local people before today’s settlement.