Matamata iwi signs agreement
Ngaati Hinerangi iwi took a monumental step closer to settling its historical Treaty claim over the weekend when representatives of the Matamata-based iwi signed an Agreement in Principle with the Crown.
Around 200 people made up of whanau, neighbouring iwi, Crown representatives and representatives from various Government departments arrived at Hinerangi Tawhaki Marae in Okauia on December 12.
Among the dignitaries was Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson and Matamata-Piako mayor Jan Barnes.
Ngaati Hinerangi’s area of interest extends from Matamata to the Tauranga Harbour and encompasses the Kaimai Range. ‘‘The agreement in principle marks the start of the next phase of negotiations with Ngaati Hinerangi and represents an important milestone for both the iwi and the Crown.
‘‘This agreement provides the basis for a more detailed deed of settlement,’’ Finlayson said.
The settlement package includes Crown apology redress as well as financial with a quantum figure of $8.1 million, commercial and cultural redress. The settlement includes transfer of sites in the Kaimai Range, with the continuance of public access guaranteed to all but one site of very high cultural significance to Ngaati Hinerangi. All existing third party interests will be maintained by the settlement.
Ngaati Hinerangi Trust chairperson Phillip Smith spoke on the day, saying the settlement package, in its final form, will be crucial in creating a sustainable future for the iwi. ‘‘This is an historical day for our people and with this we have the opportunity to invest wisely and build a positive future for our people,’’ he said.
Finlayson said the sites included in the package are of profound cultural and historical value to Ngaati Hinerangi and are valuable to New Zealand as a whole.
‘‘This agreement balances the interests of the public, the Crown and Ngaati Hinerangi.’’