This was a day the descendants of Tapuika and Ngāti Rangiwewehi have long awaited and tribal elder Te Poroa Malcolm says “ If those ancestors who fought for this very day were here today they would be very happy to bare witness to this”, a statement strongly supported by Te Ranigkaheke Bidois.
The two tribes signed an agreement in 2008 which led to the joint signing today where stories of the Crown confiscation of land were laid out to it’s descendants. Eventually almost 97 % of Tapuika land was taken and today a compensation package consisting of 8 million dollars, four sections of forest and statutory recognition for reserves and other parks in the district were agreed to. Peter Gallagher says this was a huge occasion not only due to the return of money land and title but important recognition of the history of his people and the suffering they endured.
Rangiwewehi’s cash claim was the same however also included the return of Hamurana and Taniwha Springs which for the iwi itself was no doubt the highlight. According to iwi member Te Rangikaheke the return of the springs was of immense importance to the iwi as in a way it symbolised a huge part of the iwi’s spirit.
While other pockets of land were not included in either agreement, the Crown issued a formal apology for historical wrongs committed against the two tribes over 150 years ago.