Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki claim passes final reading

By Talisa Kupenga

After nearly 200 years of grievances with the Crown Ngai Tai ki Tāmaki has reached a milestone with the passing of its final treaty settlement reading at parliament. It's a moment the iwi says is "historic".

The voices of Ngāi Tai ki Tamaki echo through the chamber knowing their settlement is one step closer.

Chairman of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Tribal Trust, James Brown says, "It's 188 years in so far as our grievances the original claims and petitions so it's hugely historic. Our people are hugely excited about the whole arrival of the moment and the journey we've been on to get here." 

Treaty Minister, Andrew Little says, "It's kind of the new beginning. It's the start of the next chapter and hopefully a relationship of genuine partnership and of equals."

The settlement provides $12.7 million redress, $50,000 for cultural revitalisation and the return of 16 sites of cultural significance including the joint vesting of a site near Hūnua Falls.

Brown says "they're our ancestral landscapes but they're Auckland's iconic gems like Motutapu Island, there is some exclusive redress there, Motuihe Island, Motukaraka Island, so a whole Island. Hūnua falls o Te hīhī o Rapa amd Musick Point."

Labour MP Peeni Henare says the settlement amount was a “pittance”.

“It’s right that the Crown apologise for the injustices you've had to endure. But when it comes to the amount of redress, what a pittance!
“As well as the peanuts you've been given to further revitalise the language and culture of Ngai Tai ki Tāmaki."

Brown says "it's never enough but the role I have is simply the messenger for the people so they've ratified their settlement."

Ngāi Tai ki Tamaki interests extend into Hauraki and the Coromandel. The Crown had acquired and confiscated a total of 129,000 acres, leaving the iwi virtually landless by 1880.

Brown was one of three negotiators to continue the work of their mothers who passed before settlement.

"[For] those negotiators, the journey was intense enough, but those three negotiators including myself lost our mothers in this whole thing. So had they still been with us today they wouldn't have only been here they would have led us through the doors."

The iwi is now preparing for its upcoming Supreme Court Hearing for exclusive rights of Rangitoto and Motutapu for economic purposes.