The Ministers of Treaty Negotiations, Finance and Mâori Affairs have proposed to meet with Central North island iwi who are not part of the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapu settlement agreement, to discuss their concerns about the accumulated rentals for deferred purchase land arising from aspects of that settlement package.
"It has never been the Crown's intention to become the ultimate beneficiary of these funds and we have stated that the funds would be used for Maori development. I am leading work considering how this can best be achieved" said the Minister of Finance Dr Michael Cullen.
"We have discussed our intentions with Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, which represents the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapu, and now look forward to discussing these issues with other Central North Island iwi and Mâori representative organisations," said Mâori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia.
"In discussions with Te Pumautanga on this matter I repeated the Crown's commitment to honour the Crown settlement offer accepted so overwhelmingly by the members of the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapu. Te Pumautanga repeated their determination to honour the decision of their people and proceed with the implementation of the settlement through legislation," said Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton. "However, to enable these meetings to go ahead the Government and Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa have agreed that it is desirable to delay the introduction of the Affiliate Te Arawa iwi and hapu settlement legislation."
"Te Pumautanga and Ministers agree that providing other iwi in the region with the opportunity to discuss their concerns with the Crown will ultimately benefit all in the region."
Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa was mandated to receive and manage the settlement on behalf of the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapû. Participating beneficiaries voted overwhelmingly to support the negotiated settlement. We acknowledge Te Pumautanga's position that any change to the terms of their settlement could only occur with the active support of the Affiliates, and would have to maintain or improve the value of their settlement," explained Mark Burton.
Following a number of attempts to develop a collective settlement process in the Central North Island in 2002-2003, the iwi and hapû of the region (Te Arawa, Tuwharetoa, Ngati Whare, Ngati Manawa and Nga Rauru o Nga Potiki o Tuhoe) wanted and were given priority to enter into formal discussions with the Crown. Some iwi and hapu have since decided to proceed along their own paths to comprehensive settlements of their historical grievances. The Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapû represent more than 24,000 people, just over half of Te Arawa. They signed a Deed of Settlement on 30 September 2006, the first of the Central North Island iwi to reach a comprehensive agreement with the Crown.
To reach that point the group undertook a rigorous process to ensure they had the right to represent their members in negotiations with the Crown. This mandate was further tested through judicial and tribunal processes and was sufficiently strong to survive both these challenges and a lengthy period of negotiations. The Crown is continuing to negotiate settlements with other iwi in the region.
"I also continue to support the efforts by other iwi to come together to help resolve some of the demanding challenges posed by the settlement of historical grievances in the Central North Island," said Mark Burton.