Injunction lodged against Ngāti Tūwharetoa treaty settlement

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Ngāti Tūwharetoa have signed off a Treaty Settlement package which includes compensation of $25million. However, the tribe's Te Matai trust have lodged a high court injunction against the final Deed of Settlement, in a last ditch attempt to stop it from becoming law.

Settlement negotiator, Te Ngahe Waniko says it's been more than 170 years and today it's restoration for Ngāti Tūwharetoa who have waited to hear the Crown apologise for historical grievances against them.

"For us, we can move forward. The most important thing is the unification of Tūwharetoa. To restore the relationships we haven't had since non-Māori came to these shores."

However, Te Matai trust are disputing the final deed of settlement.

"In 2012 Sir Tumu Te Heuheu agreed and signed a letter of support recognising that the Wai 216 claim, loss of land, loss of life should be settled separately and outside the THF forum process. We are simply challenging, seeking confirmation that the arrangement is still in place," said chair, Nigel Baker. 

The comprehensive settlement is valued at approximately $180 million, which includes the tribes part of the Central North Island (CNI) settlement in 2008.  It includes the return of 34 culturally significant sites, five commercial sites, a right of first refusal for Crown-owned land taken from the iwi and co-management with the Department of Conservation of lands within iwi boundaries. Their Tongariro Maunga claim will be negotiated at a later date.

"The land subject is the Pakaututu block which was lost through wrongful confiscation as the Waitangi deemed it. We are seeking that land to be returned," said Baker.

"That isn't an issue to us, because we are one. Tūwharetoa supports them. Come and talk to us," said Waniko.

The injunction is expected to be heard in the Wellington High Court on Monday. Te Matai Trust expect a ruling will be made on whether the legislation process will halt and allow time for the trust to address their concerns.