Waitangi Tribunal releases findings on Lake Waikaremoana claims

By Te Ao Māori News

The Waitangi Tribunal has released the fifth part of its report on Te Urewera claims dealing with claims in respect of Lake Waikaremoana, lodged by Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngai Tamaterangi.

Among a number of findings in the report the Waitangi Tribunal found the Crown breached Treaty of Waitangi principles in its failure to provide legal recognition of the people’s relationship with the lake.

It has also found that the Crown was in breach of the Treaty in its, “failure to include payment for the use of the lake for hydroelectricity in the negotiations for the 1971 lease. The claimants had been seeking such a payment ever since negotiations opened in 1949.”

The Crown was also found in breach of Treaty Principles after it modified and lowered Lake Waikaremoana in 1946 without consulting or compensating the ‘kaitiaki’ for the irreparable damage caused to their taonga. 

The report also outlines the negative impacts on the lake and its surrounding environment due to the Crown failing to establish a partnership and Māori autonomy in the management of Lake Waikaremoana. It goes on to say as a result the claimants were forced to ‘work in’ with processes controlled by others.

“As a result, they have been unable to prevent such prejudicial effects as pumping of untreated or partially treated sewage into their taonga.”

Te Kāea reporter Mere McLean will be speaking with some of the claimanats today and will have their reaction tonight on Te Kāea at 5:30 and 7pm with subtitles.