Crown to apologise, hand over titles
Nga¯ ti Maru call to come home for Treaty apology
The call has gone out for wha¯nau to come home and celebrate the final Treaty of Waitangi iwi settlement in Taranaki. The Crown will apologise to Nga¯ti Maru on October 29 at Te Upoko o te Whenua marae at Tarata, and hand over titles to land that is being returned to the iwi.
The deed of settlement was signed in February last year and a month later was approved unanimously in Parliament.
But Covid-19 meant the Crown and Nga¯ti Maru couldn’t mark the settlement in public, and under tikanga and kawa (marae protocol).
The lead negotiator and transition manager for Te Runanga o Nga¯ti Maru, Anaru Marshall, said the private signing during Covid restrictions was never enough.
“The trustees were always adamant that at some point the Crown are going to have to come back and front up to the iwi and read that apology — and we’ve also asked that they bring those land deeds and hand them back.”
There are 16 titles being returned: seven sites, including Pu¯rangi Domain, will be returned as ordinary property; the other nine, including Tarata Domain, will be returned but remain as reserves.
“What we want to do with those is to have mokopuna and rangatahi that are uri (descendants) of the most
active tu¯puna on our tu¯puna list — we’d like them to meet with the minister and publicly receive those titles and those deeds . . . on behalf of the iwi,” said Marshall.
“We’ve made it clear from the beginning the settlement is not really for us, for my generation.
“It’s for the generations that are
coming and it’s important now that we engage with them . . . because it’ll be up to them to carry it on and take it into the future.”
Marshall said it was time to join together for the last step of the decades-long claim settlement journey.
“We started it together, we’ve lost many people along the way, but it’s important we all come together now and tangi together, laugh together and celebrate together.”
The day has been named Te Pu¯aotanga mai o Maru i te Atatu¯ — the reawakening and re-emergence of Nga¯ti Maru.
Tamzyn Pue was involved in the settlement process from the age of 16 and is now Tumu Ahurea (cultural adviser) for Nga¯ti Maru.
“At the heart of this day, of this kaupapa, is Maru Ora (the vitality of Maru). Yes, there is the Crown apology that’s coming, more importantly some of our whenua will be returned to us but also it’s an opportunity for us to come together as Maru and be together as Maru at our marae.”
Wa¯nanga begin this weekend to learn waiata for the day, with a Zoom link open for those who can’t make it to the marae.
The day before the apology, buses will run from Auckland and Wellington, picking up uri along the route.
The Nga¯ti Maru rohe (area) is centred on the inland Waitara River Valley, and extends from Taranaki Maunga in the west to the upper Whanganui River in the east.
The settlement is the last of the historic claims by the region’s eight iwi, and opens the way for the settlement over maunga to be finalised.
The Nga¯ti Maru (Taranaki) Claims Settlement Act describes how half of Nga¯ti Maru’s land was confiscated as punishment, despite the iwi not being involved in the Taranaki wars.
The rest of their land was taken through the Native Land Court and leased under the Public Trustee, and this loss “eroded tribal structures, created severe poverty, and damaged the physical, cultural, and spiritual health of generations of Nga¯ti Maru people”.
Nga¯ti Maru receives financial and commercial redress of $30 million, including the right to purchase Te Wera Forest and 35 other Crown properties.
Cultural redress includes the 16 sites of cultural significance and a million dollars for cultural revitalisation.