After 30 years of negotiations, Maniapoto settlement passes first reading

By Whatitiri Te Wake

Covid restrictions meant only a small number of Ngāti Maniapoto iwi members were able to make it to Parliament today as the Ngāti Maniapoto treaty settlements legislation had its first reading in the House.

But it was the culmination of a 30-year fight to seek recognition and accountability for the trauma suffered by the Ngāti Maniapoto people.

Negotiator Peter Te Matakahere Douglas says a new dawn awaits the iwi now.

“He nui te mahi kei mua i a mātou engari kua tae mātou ki tēnei tūranga ahuatanga, ko tā mātou hiahia kia titiro ki mua kaua ki muri.”

“There is a lot of work ahead, but we’ve now arrived at this place. We don’t want to look back – we want to look forward,” he said.

Maniapoto is based in Te Rohe Pōtae (the King Country), in and around Taumarunui, Mōkau, Pureora, Te Kūiti, Ōtorohanga, Te Awamutu and Kāwhia. The iwi has an estimated 45,930 members, with more than 90 per cent living outside the rohe.

Better future for descendants

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little acknowledged the work done by Ngāti Maniapoto to get to this point.

“Following the passing of legislation, Maniapoto will receive $165 million financial and commercial redress, and cultural redress including 36 sites of traditional, historical and cultural significance to Maniapoto,” he said.

 “The settlement also includes a greater role in the management of natural resources within the Maniapoto rohe, the gift to Maniapoto and gift back to the Crown of ‘Te-Ara-o-Tūrongo’ (part of the North Island Main Trunk railway line), and agreements with a range of Crown agencies.

Douglas says Ngāti Maniapoto look forward to creating better futures for their descendants and opportunity to create opportunities for their people

“Tā mātou nei hiahia he whakapai i ngā mahi ki waenga i nga whanau i waenganui i nga taangata i roto i a mātou.”

“We want to improve the situations for our whānau,” he said.