Northland iwi treaty settlement passed in Parliament

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Legislation for the treaty settlement of four Northland iwi was passed in Parliament today.

Representatives from Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Ngāi Takoto and Ngāti Kuri travelled to Wellington to celebrate the occasion.

It's the moment the people of Te Hiku o Te Ika have been waiting 30 years for.

The settlement includes $120 million and the return of thousands of hectares of land in the North to iwi of Te Hiku, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Ngāi Takoto and Ngāti Kuri.

The settlement was initiated by influential Māori leaders like Matiu Rata and Sir Kereama Ratima in the 1980s.

Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis says today is a tribute to them.  “They're not here to listen to the third reading of a bill, they're here to realise a dream that was started 180 years ago.”

Haami Piripi says, “Today, their dreams have come true, their aspirations for the tribe.  Even though it was a hard, long journey, today it has come to fruition.”

Some representatives from Ngāti Kahu came to celebrate the occasion, while others occupy Kaitaia Airport to oppose it.

Ngāti Kahu is the only Te Hiku iwi to not yet settle.

Piripi says, “We had decided collectively to sit at the table and this is what happens.  But Ngāti Kahu are still waiting for justice.”

Students from Te Kura o Te Rangi Āniwaniwa, Mitimiti and Pukemiro also showed their support.

Rangiwewehi Fletcher says, “It's a huge day because the dreams of our elders were achieved today.”

Joe Everitt says, “Neil Armstrong's famous words were - A small step for man, a giant leap for mankind.  Our interpretation - A small step for mankind, a giant leap for Muriwhenua.”