Skip to main content

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

"With no land—or hardly any land—the economic base for the people was gone".
See video

Tēnā koe, Mr Assistant Speaker. E ngā tangata o tēnei hapū o Maungaharuru-Tangitū, ngā rangatira, ngā kuia mā, ngā koro mā, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

[Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. To the people of this subtribe of Maungaharuru-Tangitū, leaders, elderly women and menfolk, acknowledgments, salutations and greetings to you all.]

I rise to take the call for the Green Party on this third reading of the Maungaharuru-Tangitū Hapū Claims Settlement Bill. I want to acknowledge the people in the gallery today, who have come from their rohe to witness this historic occasion: the final passage of this bill as it is passed into law. I mihi to the people of Ngāti Tū, Ngāti Kurumōkihi, Ngāti Whakaari, Ngāi Te Ruruku ki Tangōio, Ngāi Tauira, and Ngāi Tahu.

As well as acknowledging those who are with us today, those in the gallery and those who are watching at home, I also want to acknowledge those who are not with us. That includes those who have passed away over the many decades it has taken to bring this legislation to its conclusion in the House today. Legal action for this bill started in 1870, so there are generations who have worked to bring this justice to the House and who have passed away. I also think it is right to acknowledge the mate who are mentioned in the bill itself, those who died in 1866 defending themselves from the Crown's forces at Ōmarunui and Pētane, those who were summarily executed by the Crown at Ngātapa in 1869, and, of course, those who died from poverty-related illnesses as a result of the loss of their land over the last 150 years.

Tēnā koutou me ō koutou tini mate. Nō reira, haere e ngā mate, haere ki te wā kāinga, haere ki te kāinga tūturu o tō tātou Matua i Te Rangi, haere, haere, haere.

[Acknowledgments to you and your many, many deaths. Therefore, depart the deaths. Return to the homeland, to the true home of our Father in Heaven. Farewell, journey on, and goodbye.]

To return to the living, I want to address what this legislation is about. This legislation is an acknowledgment from the Crown that it breached the Treaty of Waitangi and acted abominably towards the people of Maungaharuru-Tangitū Hapū. It offers some small compensation for the Crown basically stealing, through various dodgy methods, land that belonged to the hapū.

The legislation does not mince words. The Crown's actions are described as a sham, as a misuse of its monopoly powers. The bill says things like "the Crown exploited …". So the point of this bill is to restore some of the mana lost as a result of the hapū being alienated from most of their lands and consequently having their role as kaitiaki taken away from them. From my understanding of the legislation, the first land alienations were in 1851 with the Ahuriri Block and the Mōhaka Block, when the hapū were tricked into accepting a low price for the land, believing that they would receive full ongoing economic benefits from the European settlement, and that just did not happen.

The hapū lost more land in 1866 when the Native Land Court awarded the Moeangiangi—I will try that again. The Moeangiangi—I have really got to work on my Māori pronunciation, sorry. I will come and talk to you later and get the right pronunciation. That reserve and the Pētane and Te Pāhou blocks were award to individual Māori. The land losses continued in 1867 with the Crown declaring a confiscation district of most of the takiwā of the hapū. In 1870 the Crown also gave—and it has been mentioned before—30,000 acres at Kaiwaka to a Crown ally, cutting the hapū out of the deal. The legal expenses that were incurred by the hapū at that time have been described in the legislation as crippling.

The actions of the Crown continued to alienate the hapū from their land throughout the 1900s, with the compulsory vesting of Tāngoio South in the Ikaroa Māori Land Board in 1907. It continued through the 1930s with the Crown abusing its powers through various mechanisms to ensure hapū remained separated from their land. This is spelt out in Part 1, clause 8(13)(e), where is says "the Crown's actions were unfair, oppressive, and did not live up to the standards of good faith and fair dealing, which are expressed in the Treaty of Waitangi …". So it is worth restating that the loss of their land has had a massive impact on the people and it has had a massive impact on the land as well.

With no land—or hardly any land—the economic base for the people was gone. The hardship they endured was extreme. I think one of the most distressing aspects in the history here is that entire bloodlines, entire families died out. In Te Ao Māori we recognise that whakapapa links are hugely important. When the people lost their role as kaitiaki, the land suffered as well. The legislation lists the pollution of Lake Tūtira, the pollution of the coastline, the degradation and loss of mahinga kai, and the flooding of the community and marae at Tāngoio. It mentions the degradation of the environment from deforestation and pastoral farming.

Like others, I note that the flood-prone 3 acres with the marae at Tāngoio is all that remains from the original 100,000 acres that was the takiwā of Maungaharuru-Tangitū Hapū in 1850. In this context, the fact that this hapū will settle with the Crown is phenomenal, especially when the compensation is so very small and covers maybe a fraction of what the land losses alone are worth. Even then, there is very little land actually returned to iwi. Separate from the commercial redress property, there is roughly 30 hectares in total in the two reserves in the cultural redress package. We should also contrast this with the four gifting-back properties that are some of the Ōpouahi Reserve, the Bellbird Bush Scenic Reserve, the Boundary Stream Scenic Reserve, and the Whakaari Landing Place Reserve, which together make about 1,100 hectares.

These are the reserves that the Crown will symbolically give to the people of Maungaharuru-Tangitū Hapū, and they will give them back to the people of New Zealand. I have to recognise that these people are incredibly generous. I am aware that with the legislation the apology of the Crown is accepted by the hapū, as they wish to move forward and to heal. I celebrate with them the enormous success they have achieved in bringing this settlement through the House and into law. Like others, I wish to acknowledge the Treaty negotiators, the kaumātua, the people who have ushered this through. But I have to say that although we celebrate with Maungaharuru-Tangitū Hapū, we also disagree with the Government that this is a full and final settlement. We say this every time because, as we all know, it is not full compensation. We do not believe it is final either because we do not know how the generations that are yet to come will be impacted by these historical claims.

What is known is that the hapū will be on a surer economic footing as a result of this deal than it has been for the last 150 years. My dearest wish is that with the passing of this bill and the many others like it that have been passing through this House that the true history of our country, like the account that is listed in the deed of settlement and in the bill, will be taught in our schools so that the rangatahi of this hapū, for example, will be able to hold their heads up with pride and know where they come from and know what happened to their people. I also wish that every citizen of Aotearoa comes to understand that the Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of our land. Nō reira. To the whānau and the iwi here today, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

^ Back to Top