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Denise Roche speaks on Te Tau Ihu Claims Settlement Bill, second reading

"I want to acknowledge the generosity of the iwi who have land returned to them that they then give back to the Crown for the benefit of all New Zealanders".
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Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Tēnā koutou katoa e te Whare. E ngā iwi e huihui nei, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

I just want to acknowledge, before I start, the people who are in the gallery today, ngā tangata o Te Tau Ihu te ra, and they are: Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Rangitāne o Wairau, Ngāti Kōata, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama ki Te Tau Ihu, and Ngāti Toa Rangatira. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

I acknowledge that this bill is complex, covering eight deeds of settlement for breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi for historical grievances and that it offers some redress for those breaches. The bill also covers the intellectual property issue of the haka, Ka Mate, and acknowledges Ngāti Toa rangatira Te Rauparaha as the composer of this iconic haka. In the next part of the parliamentary process this bill will be split up into separate Acts.

I said in my first reading speech that it is a privilege to rise to speak on this bill, and I reiterate that. The Treaty settlements have such a wide-ranging impact on so many people, and to understand the significance of that and to feel the weight of the respective histories is a very tangible thing. I have to confess to the iwi that this is the first time I have sat on the Māori Affairs Committee to hear submissions.

I am struck by how very different it is from my other committee, the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee. It is very collaborative, with the interests of the Treaty settlements at heart. And I am very glad that I did get to the top of the south, Te Tau Ihu, to hear first hand from the people affected by these settlements.

I do read the written submissions, of course, but to actually hear what the people say while they are in their own rohe, on the whenua, about how these settlements will affect them is very powerful. I do believe that the submissions process helps us as politicians to understand the settlements so much better. So for all those who have submitted or ever made a submission in any type of democratic process, take heart. It does make a difference.

It is also good to hear the arguments directly from those who oppose the bill, and I want to take time to acknowledge them—in particular, Rangitāne o Kaituna, who presented to the select committee in Blenheim. The select committee report back to the House refers to decisions of the Waitangi Tribunal in 2003 that said that there was no distinction in whakapapa for Ngāti Rangitāne o Kaituna, and that, effectively, Ngāti Rangitāne o Kaituna must sort things out with Ngāti Rangitāne o Wairau. I guess this is where the Greens' position on the Treaty settlement process is made apparent. Our position, and I stated it in the first reading, is that we reject that these Treaty settlement bills are full and final, regardless of what they say. One reason for that is that the Crown determines whom it will and will not negotiate with, and our concern is that it can perpetuate further grievances by pitting Māori against Māori and hapū against hapū.

This has happened before. The Crown has refused to acknowledge the status of iwi, and they have had to fight tooth and nail for recognition. Several of the Treaty settlements in recent times outline these struggles. It is the Crown, then, that draws the line in the sand and says: "We will talk only to these people, and only if they have been there since a certain date." That explains one submission that was in opposition to the Ngāti Toa Rangatira redress in the Wellington area. Our unease is probably best summed up by this bit from Chris Matenga Webber, who subbmited on behalf of the descendants of Te Rangihiroa from Kāpiti, who had their own Treaty of Waitangi claims lodged. He wrote: "Members of Te Rangihiroa and other family lines have expressed concerns that [the Te Tau Ihu] settlement does not cause further harm within and between the iwi and have sought for opportunity to resolve finer details. Concern remains around the non return of lands, government manipulation of tribal and political landscape and imposition of models and agreements which further cement that status of tangata whenua as subservient whilst the Crown strengthens the inequality of its relative position."

I note that in the Tasman District the Wakatū Incorporation had a similar concern, as well as concerns that these settlements would impact on its ability to settle its own property claims. But we have heard in great detail from the Hon Nanaia Mahuta the legal position of that and how we sought legal advice. Basically, to sum it up, it is because the Crown will not negotiate with an incorporation; it negotiates with iwi.

I want to acknowledge that I realise that there will also be competing interests. Iwis so often share common ancestors and whakapapa to the same areas and, quite simply, have had boundaries around their rohe that have stretched and reduced over time and that overlap. So I note that with this bill, in some areas of redress, like the Puketawai cultural redress sites, the land is jointly vested in three iwi here, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama ke te Tonga, and Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui. This redress property is another example of the generosity of iwi in these Treaty settlements. The report back to the House says that this bill needs to make sure that with the vesting of Puketawai with iwi they not be liable for the economic or environmental liabilities that result from the closed landfill that is also on this land. Iwi in this area lost thousands and thousands of hectares of land, and they get a tiny proportion back. In this case, with Puketawai, it includes a closed landfill. That must be a metaphor for something but I do not know what.

I want to acknowledge the generosity of the iwi who have land returned to them that they then give back to the Crown for the benefit of all New Zealanders. Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, for example, will be receiving and returning the alpine tarns in the Nelson Lakes National Park. Again, that iwi, with Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama ki Te Waipounamu, and Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui, will have Te Tai Tapu in the North-west Nelson Forest Park vested in them, but will return it to the Crown after 1 week.

The commercial redress in these settlements offers the chance for iwi to start to rebuild their economic base. The cultural redress is an acknowledgment and restoration of the status of the iwi in relation to their land and their resources, 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 addresses the tangata whenua status of iwi. I want to recognise the fact that these settlements do not just drop out of the air; that it takes years and years of work. These bill readings and the submission process are the culmination of a huge collective effort over generations. I also want to acknowledge that these settlements are hard fought for and hard-won, and that the successes of them should be celebrated. I look forward to the third reading and the enactment of these settlements. I will be supporting this bill. Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

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