The Crown has welcomed the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal for providing redress to historical claims in the Far North, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson announced today.
Far North iwi Ngati Kahu applied to the Tribunal for recommendations as to remedies for the Crown's historical breaches of the Treaty after withdrawing from negotiations in 2011.
The Tribunal has outlined its recommendations for a fair settlement of Ngati Kahu's historical claims.
"The Crown welcomes the Tribunal's recommendations, and would welcome the opportunity to use them as the basis for further negotiation with Ngati Kahu," Mr Finlayson said.
"The Crown acknowledges Ngati Kahu has well founded Treaty claims and would like to resume negotiations with them as soon as possible. Although the recommendations are non-binding, they present a good basis for providing commercial redress to allow Ngati Kahu to build up an economic base for its people; certain Crown properties which have cultural significance for the iwi, and participation in co-governance of natural resources with local government and other iwi."
"In particular, the recommendations would preserve the collective approach Ngati Kahu and the other four Far North iwi have taken over many years, so they can all share the benefits of settlements they have worked so hard towards."
"I am particularly aware that the iwi of the Far North have been waiting many years for a just settlement of their claims since the Muriwhenua Land Report was released in 1997," Mr Finlayson said. "The Crown wants to see these claims settled as soon as possible to restore the relationship between the Treaty partners and allow the Te Hiku iwi a strong base for development and progress."
The Waitangi Tribunal's Muriwhenua Fishing Claim Report and Muriwhenua Land Report addressed historical claims involving Ngati Kahu, Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa and Ngai Takoto in the Far North region in 1988 and 1997 respectively.
Following the release of the Muriwhenua Land Report Te Aupöuri and other Te Hiku iwi decided to negotiate settlement of their claims separately.
Individual negotiations began between the Crown and Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa in the early 2000's, and with Ngäi Takoto in 2008 and Ngati Kuri in 2009. Ngati Kahu entered negotiations in 2003 and signed an Agreement In Principle (AIP) in 2008.
The five iwi which originally comprised the Te Hiku forum are Ngati Kahu, Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa and Ngai Takoto. These iwi came together in 2008 to collectively address their shared interests, and signed the Te Hiku Agreement in Principle in January 2010, which set out redress providing a basis for economic and social development for iwi and the region and better management of iconic sites.
Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa and Ngai Takoto have signed deeds of settlement with the Crown. Ngati Kuri is still in negotiation with the Crown.
Ngati Kahu withdrew from negotiations for a deed of settlement in 2010 and commenced action in the Waitangi Tribunal seeking recommendations on remedies.