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Denise Roche speaks on Raukawa Claims Settlement Bill, second reading

"In the bill it outlines one of the grievances that the Crown apologises for, the alienation of the Pouakani Block in 1915—nearly 100 years ago—when the Crown gifted 20,000 acres to an iwi with no ancestral ties in the area".
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Tēnā koe, Mr Assistant Speaker. Tēnā koutou e te Whare. E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā rangatira mā, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Ngā rangatira o Raukawa nei, tēnā koutou.

[Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. Greetings to you collectively, the House. To the authorities, languages, and esteemed leaders, salutations and acknowledgements to you. To you, esteemed leaders of Raukawa gathered here, greetings to you collectively.]

I recognise that the fog has not only left us bereft of the presence of the wonderful Tau Henare, the chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, but I think may have delayed some of Raukawa as well. I am sure there are lots of people watching this at home, and I acknowledge you as well.

In my first speech on this bill, the Raukawa Claims Settlement Bill, I said that I thought it was a privilege to speak here, and I maintain that position. I am fully aware that the passing of this settlement bill into law is a momentous occasion and has taken enormous persistence and sheer hard work to get to this point. I acknowledge in the gallery today Chris McKenzie, one of the lead negotiators. I also feel that to speak on this bill is a privilege, because I am Raukawa, Ngāti Huri from Pikitu Marae. I want to personally acknowledge Ruthana Begbie in her role as one of the claimants and as a kuia of Pikitu. In my first speech I also acknowledged the passing of kaumātua George Rangitūtia , who signed the settlement deed from his hospital bed. I want to acknowledge those kaumātua and kuia who are no longer with us who have helped create a settlement that will give Raukawa an economic base for future generations.

At Waitangi a couple of weeks ago kaumātua Maanu Paul from the Māori Council said in his kaikōrero as he welcomed us again to Te Tii Marae that there is a concern that with the Treaty process we will set Māori against Māori, pitting Māori against Māori. Raukawa know this feeling too well. In the bill it outlines one of the grievances that the Crown apologises for, the alienation of the Pouakani Block in 1915—nearly 100 years ago—when the Crown gifted 20,000 acres to an iwi with no ancestral ties in the area. We heard in the first reading of this bill that the honourable Meka Whaitiri had whakapapa to that iwi, as does our own co-leader Metiria Turei.

I want to acknowledge that this is only the second time that I have travelled with the Māori Affairs Committee to hear submissions on a Treaty bill, and I do feel that it was a privilege to have the opportunity to go to Tokoroa to hear the submissions from submitters in their own voices. I believe that there is a clearer understanding of issues when in the rohe of the tangata whenua, and it is also good to hear the submitters who oppose the settlement, because understanding is always clearer when it is kanohi ki te kanohi.

It is clear from the evidence presented that Raukawa have worked hard to maintain relationships with the iwi that are all around them— Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Arawa, Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, and Tūwharetoa in the south. During the submissions I was very heartened to hear that one of the guiding principles for Raukawa has been to not settle their own grievance by creating more grievances. I have also heard that from the Chair of the Raukawa Settlement Trust, Vanessa Eparaima. She said the same thing during her speech at the signing of the settlement deed in June the year before last at Aotearoa Marae. I think Maniapoto were on the pai then too.

I have also read the submissions that Raukawa have made in support of the Ngāti Koroki Kahukura Claims Settlement Bill, with similar statements. Again, that was stated by Raukawa in their submission supporting the Ngāti Hauā Claims Settlement Bill. We did also see in the evidence the memorandum of understanding that was developed some years ago between Ngāti Korokī Kahukura and Raukawa. Raukawa have also worked collaboratively with other iwi on previous settlements, including around the Waikato River and the central North Island forestry settlements. So it is obvious to me that Raukawa are genuine in their desire to settle their own grievance and not negatively impact on other iwi.

Having said that, there are some overlapping interests, and we heard about them during the submission processes. I am pleased that the Hon Nanaia Mahuta has put it on record how we see those overlapping associations and interests playing out. Overlapping interests and associations include the Waikeria Prison land with Maniapoto. I note that there is the potential for the two iwi to develop joint ventures around this land. I also note that there are restrictions on Raukawa exercising first right of refusal. They cannot purchase unless they have consent from Maniapoto. The select committee report outlines that Maniapoto's interests are protected. We heard from the Te Arawa iwi trust about overlapping interests in Lake Ōhākuri. This has been clarified and will be clarified in the bill that Raukawa's statement of association includes only the part of the lake that is within the Tatua West block.

We also heard from Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, who were concerned that they may have been inadvertently included in the claimant definition of the settlement bill and wanted the explicit exclusion about the overlapping areas of interest. The report back to the House by the Māori Affairs Committee also clarifies that Ngāti Korokī Kahukura's area of interest is explicit in their own settlement. It is explicit in their own deed. I note that Raukawa's claim over where they have stated association areas or interests does not give Raukawa mana whenua status in areas that are clearly Ngāti Korokī Kahukura's.

I also need to make the political point that some of that unease that the Greens feel about these raupatu settlements as full and final is because it is the Crown that dictates who it will and will not negotiate with. If we look at the historical account of this settlement and the battle to be recognised as an iwi, to be recognised by the Crown was indeed a struggle for Raukawa. That was resolved only at the end of last century, so Raukawa know better than many the grievance that is felt from that. The fact remains, though, that while the Crown decides who it will and will not recognise, there may be hapū or iwi left out of settlements. So our concern is that there may be some whom the Crown will refuse to negotiate with because it choose the winners and determine who will be the losers. Fundamentally, this does little to ensure the partnership between ngā iwi Māori and the Crown, as was envisaged by Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The Greens also maintain that we do not see these Treaty settlements as full and final settlements. What is lost is far greater than what is gained, and I think that is clear from the historical account in the bill. Thank you, Mr Tirikatene, for outlining some of that.

Having said all of this, I recognise that Raukawa have worked within the limitations dictated by the Crown over a very long period of time for this settlement, and that the passing of this bill is to be celebrated. Certainly, it gives Raukawa more of an economic base and the independence to utilise the incredible entrepreneurial skill in the iwi to raise the standard of living for our people. I know that Raukawa are already working innovatively, and are trialling youth services, for example, that could be potentially rolled out throughout the country. Mr Speaker, today is a day to celebrate the passing of the second reading of the Raukawa Claims Settlement Bill. The Greens will be supporting it. Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

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