Taranaki iwi Ngaruahine settles Treaty claims with Crown for $67.5m

Chris Finlayson, Minister for Treaty Negotiations

 Taranaki iwi Ngaruahine has reached a $67.5 million settlement with the Crown for its Treaty of Waitangi claims.

The settlement includes a $13.5 million payment the government made in June 2013, as well as land in the Taranaki region. The settlement also includes four culturally significant sites, the Waipakari Reserve, Te Kohinga Reserve, Te Ngutu o te Manu and Te Poho o Taranaki.

"Ngaruahine has waited a long time to reach this day," Chris Finlayson, Minister for Treaty Negotiations, said in a statement. "No settlement can fully compenstate for the wrongs of the past, but this settlement will enable the people of Ngaruahine to move forward and focus on developing a strong cultural and economic future in the region."

The deed of settlement also details the iwi's 1999 claim over petroleum resources in the area, which included the offshore Kupe field and the onshore Kapuni field. The Waitangi Tribunal's 2003 'Petroleum Report' found that to exclude petroleum assets from settlements would further breach the treaty and recommended that the Crown withhold the Kupe petroleum mining licence from sale until Maori interests were resolved. The Labour-led Helen Clark government ignored this advice in November 2003, transferring the Crown's 11 percent royalties from the Kupe field to Genesis Energy.

The National-led government missed its self-imposed 2014 deadline to settle all treaty claims, extending the deadline to 2017 last December. According to the Office of Treaty Settlement's website, updated June 18, six different claimant groups have signed terms of negotiation with the Crown, 13 groups have an agreement in principle,16 have signed or have a draft deed of settlement, while 52 groups have completed settlements, since Waitomo in 1990.

Northland's Ngapuhi, made up of some 125,000 people and New Zealand's largest tribe, is yet to reach a settlement, though media reports earlier this year put the figure at $500 million.

(BusinessDesk)

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