Taranaki signs $70mil Treaty deal

By Harata Brown
  • North Island: West Coast

Taranaki iwi have signed a $70mil Treaty of Waitangi settlement with the Crown.

Iwi leader Dr Ruakere Hond says the historical injustices at Parihaka have now been acknowledged and a new way forward paved for the iwi.

"It's about coming to a point where we can say the grievances of the past will never be forgotten but we can put that aside and move forward," says Dr Hond.

The settlement comes with the return of 29 properties, which will be vested in a post settlement entity called, Te Kāhui o Taranaki Trust. Conservation sites at Cape Egmont and the Sugar Loaf islands are also part of the deal.

The iwi will have Right of First Refusal to Crown land in the district and will also have the right to put two representatives on specific committees of the Taranaki Regional Council.

Despite the impressive package, Lead Negotiator for Taranaki iwi, Jamie Tuuta said, "The Crown's acknowledgement of their injustices against us is upper most.’

The Crown confiscated 1.2 million acres of land in the war against Taranaki Māori in the 1860s.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Dr Chris Finlayson acknowledged that the invasion of Parihaka and the unfair imprisonment of their prophets deeply impacted the iwi.

"A lot of work is being done for Parihaka. I've asked Dame Tariana Tūria and Jim Bolger and a number of others from Parihaka to put together a plan in terms of both a reconciliation ceremony and where we can go with Parihaka," Dr Finlayson said.

Taranaki Iwi Trust Chairman Toka Walden says the package will now provide a better foundation for the iwi.

"It's a new era for us to start thinking about the opportunities ahead of us and what those opportunities may mean to assist our people to grow," says Mr Walden.

The bill is currently being drafted and is scheduled in Parliament before Christmas.