Skip to main content

Denise Roche speaks on Maungaharuru-Tangitu Hapu Claims Settlement Bill, second reading

It is worth noting here in Parliament that for the Maungaharuru-Tangitū hapū, the Crown’s historical Treaty breaches nearly wiped them out. They went from having 100,000 hectares of land to now just three acres at Tangoio.
See video

Tēnā koe, Mr Deputy Speaker. E te Whare, tēnā koutou katoa. E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā rangatira mā, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. I want to acknowledge that for Ngāti Maungaharuru-Tangitū hapū, the fog has had an impact on the people both in the House and in the gallery. So I want to acknowledge the people who are probably watching this on television. They are the people of Ngāti Tu, Ngāti Kurumokihi, Ngāti Whakaari, Ngāi Te Ruruku ki Tangoio, Ngāi Tauira, and Ngāi Tahu.

It is my privilege to take a call for the Green Party on the Maungaharuru-Tangitū Hapū Claims Settlement Bill for its second reading in the House. I said it was a privilege when I spoke at the first reading in the middle of last year. To be in the House at a time in history when the Crown seeks to right the wrongs and heal the hurts is an opportunity that very few New Zealanders get. It is where we see our founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which enables non-Māori to live in this land peaceably, finally honoured after many, many breaches that left the people of Maungaharuru-Tangitū Hapū poor, unhealthy, scattered, and dispossessed.

I was not able to come and hear the submissions on this bill that were made to the Māori Affairs Committee, but I have spent some time looking at the submissions that were made. There were 45 of them. I did that so that I could get a clearer picture of the issues and add to my understanding of the report that the committee has presented to the House. I thank the previous speakers for outlining in more detail what the issues were. This is the third Treaty bill that the House has heard today for a second reading.

Looking at the submissions on this one, there are common themes that appear across those bills. I guess to sum it up would be to say that a common fear from some submitters is either that they will be included in the settlement, with negative consequences, or, alternatively, that they will not be included in the settlement, with negative consequences. So with this bill there were submissions from those concerned about the claimant definition. Some were concerned that those descended from ancient hapū who were not explicitly mentioned in the bill would not be covered by the settlement, or that they were being subsumed unfairly into another hapū, or that they were not adequately recognised.

The second area where people were concerned is that they will not be included in the settlement because they have connections with both Ngāti Pahauwera and Maungaharuru-Tangitū, and that the Ngāti Pahauwera settlement was enacted several years ago. I guess this highlights the point that was made at Waitangi this year by Maanu Paul from the Māori Council on the paepae at Te Tii during his whaikōrero when we were welcomed on. He said that he was concerned that the settling of historic grievances may set Māori against Māori, and he is right to be concerned. It is one of the reasons the Greens have some unease about these settlements, and why we always say that we do not believe that these bills represent a full and final settlement. We are also concerned at the fact that it is the Crown that determines who it will negotiate with, that some will be shut out of the process, and because it is the Crown that determines who it will negotiate with, it perpetuates the status of the Crown and diminishes the partnership with Ngā Iwi Māori that was envisaged by Te Tiriti o Waitangi. So it could have the potential for creating further Treaty breaches.

Of course, our third reason for not accepting these settlements as full and final of historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi is because the historical breaches—what happened in the past—may yet affect generations to come in ways that have not yet been foreseen. I know that Maungaharuru-Tangitū hapū, in common with iwi across our country, have no wish to short-change the children yet to come. It is worth noting here in Parliament that for the Maungaharuru-Tangitū hapū, the Crown's historical Treaty breaches nearly wiped them out. They went from having 100,000 hectares of land to now just three acres at Tangoio. Tania Hoffman, the general manager of the Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust, referred to her people as tangata whenua without whenua. Within the settlement of this bill, Maungaharuru-Tangitū hapū will be in a better economic condition, but they are incredibly generous to accept this settlement when the loses—people killed, detained, and executed, and land taken by confiscation and by other unfair means—were so large. I want to acknowledge that my comments about the Crown are not in any way to detract from the sense of achievement that Maungaharuru-Tangitū hapū should rightly claim as theirs for resolving these historical claims to this point.

It has taken decades and decades and so much perseverance, commitment, and resolve to get to this final part, and their generosity and patience. One of the submissions, from Evelyn Ratima, the chair of Mana Ahuriri Inc, who are neighbours with Maungaharuru-Tangitū, describes their graciousness really well in her submission supporting the bill. She says: "As neighbours of Maungaharuru-Tangitu we acknowledge all the indignities and trials they have endured and in remembering the suffering of their and our Tipuna, which is much, and that is been polite, have maintained their integrity and the integrity of the people. Maungaharuru-Tangitu have been transparent throughout the duration of the claims process, they have been committed and true to the legacy of their and our ancestors and are very deserving of having their Claims Bill heard, supported and passed through Parliament."

In Treaty settlements the commercial redress offers a chance for iwi to start to rebuild their economic base. The cultural redress is an acknowledgment and restoration of the status of iwi in relation to their land, their rivers, their lakes—and I want to note here Lake Tūtira, which is one of the most polluted in the country—the sea, and their role as tangata whenua and kaitiaki. The renaming of certain sites back to their original names is important in telling the history of the area from a Māori perspective, and again it addresses the mana tangata status of hapū and iwi.

The vesting of several thousands of hectares of Department of Conservation reserves, as will happen in this settlement, which Maungaharuru-Tangitū will return to the people of Aotearoa, is a symbolic act of recompense by the Crown, but it is a much larger gesture of generosity by the hapū. But all this redress is designed to start the process for Maungaharuru-Tangitū to heal. After my last speech in this House I received an email from one of the negotiators, which was really nice, I have to say, and I am going to quote from it because it is positive. She said: "I believe there is hope and a quiet optimism among our people that things will get better for future generations." Later she says: "We are looking forward to putting this chapter in our history to rest, and charting a new course for our hapū, whānau, and marae." I reiterate, it is a privilege to speak in the second reading of this bill. The Greens will be supporting it through to its third reading and final passage. Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

^ Back to Top