Waikato-Tainui receive $190 million boost

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The government says the recent Ngāi Tahu and Tainui-Waikato Treaty settlement payout won't affect other iwi negotiating a fair deal in the future. Both iwi received a combined $370 million as part of a special clause in their Treaty settlements.

Waikato-Tainui was one of the first iwi to settle their Treaty claims, and they're reaping the benefits.

Te Arataura Chair Rukumoana Schaafhausen, "We are a significant contributor to the Waikato region and contribute to Tāmaki so our tribal settlements are not just fuelling our own prosperity they are fuelling the prosperity of the regions and of Aotearoa." Te Arataura is the executive board of the Kauhanganui, the legislative council of Waikato-Tainui.

The tribe received $190 million as part of a relativity clause in their settlement.

Rukumoana Schaafhausen says it's business as usual, "Housing, education, our rangatahi, our health, we are already investing heavily in those areas with our tribal funds."

Minister for Treaty Settlements Andrew Little says, "This gives them more investment capital to use to continue to grow the value of the asset base of those iwi and therefore the total Māori economy grows."

When Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu signed their settlements, they made a deal that if the Crown spent over one billion dollars on other Treaty claims, they would receive further redress.

Little says, "Tipene O'Regan, now Sir Tipene and the late Bob Mahuta, late Sir Bob Mahuta, they all took a courageous step in getting these deals across the line there were risks involved but what it meant was it set up the framework to get the future treaty settlements done."

The two tribes have become economic powerhouses in the New Zealand economy and Little says this clause won't affect other iwi looking to complete their claims.

"All future negotiations have to be conducted in good faith and it is not right for the Crown to put arbitrary limits on how it is dealing with the claims because it's dealing iwi by iwi."

Rukumoana Schaafhausen says, "This is the challenge for the new Te Arataura is how do we grow that investment and deliver it to our people in an accelerated way."

Both Tainui and Ngāi Tahu iwi have the right to seek further payment every five years once an evaluation is done of the Treaty settlements over that period.