Settlement set to return 19,000ha to Ngāti Kahungunu

By Jessica Tyson

A deed of settlement returning more than 19,000 hectares to Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua has been initialled by the Crown.

Included is around 12,000 hectares of commercial land and 7,000 hectares of cultural land, including the bed of Lake Wairarapa and surrounding reserves.

The settlement also includes financial redress of $93mil and will allow the iwi to purchase Ngaumu Forest and two Landcorp Farms.

Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua Settlement Trust chairman, Ian Perry says if approved, the settlement will unite the iwi into the future.

"This settlement is for all our people who whakapapa to Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua and for our future generations," he says.

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-a-Rua had its claims heard before the Waitangi Tribunal in 2004 and 2005, and the Tribunal issued its Wairarapa ki Tararua report in 2010.

Perry says the process has enlightened and empowered the iwi.

"Our hapū and iwi have been able to connect once again like our old people did, while finding out more about ourselves," he says.

"Our kaumātua and kuia organised and researched our claims for decades and some of them are no longer with us.  Our old people started this journey.  We owe it to them and our tīpuna to finish it."

Perry says he will put the proposed settlement to a vote of all registered adult members in the coming months.

“If they vote in support it will mark a new dawn for our people- te ao hou," says Perry.