Colin King MP joined the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Chris Finlayson, representatives from the Prime Minister’s office and representatives from the Office of Treaty Settlements for the Crown signing of the Deed of Settlement with Ngati Kuia which took place at Te Hora Marae, Canvastown, on Saturday 23 October, 2010.
The Deed of Settlement sets out commercial redress worth over $24 million and includes an apology for historical breaches of the Treaty, the return of culturally significant sites and other Crown properties.
The conclusion of these negotiations is very important to the government and demonstrates what the Crown and iwi, working together, can achieve for the benefit of iwi and the country as a whole.
This settlement represents a significant step towards finishing historical Treaty settlements in the South Island. Resolving overlapping claims of the eight iwi in the region has been an enormous challenge for both iwi and the Crown. Saturday’s signing is a testament to the Ngati Kuia negotiators’ skills, leadership and patience.
Mr King says this signing is an important step towards recognising the commitment Europeans made to Ngati Kuia when they first settled in the area. “Influential people including Kath Hemi and Laurie Duckworth have fought long and hard for the Maori of the top of the south – Ngati Kuia, Ngati Apa and Rangitane.
I sincerely hope that this signing gives them some satisfaction for all their hard work over many years. This $24.8 million settlement and apology from the Crown comes after too many years of exceptional hardship which has left Ngati Kuia poor. This settlement redresses the Crown’s failure in acknowledging Ngati Kuia rights and interests to land. ”
Ngati Kuia is the first of eight iwi with interests in Te Tau Ihu (the northern South Island) to complete their settlement.
The Crown and Ngati Kuia have signed the first deed of settlement in the South Island since 1997.