Rangitāne of the Wairarapa and Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua, through the Rangitāne Settlement Negotiations Trust, have signed an Agreement in Principle with the Crown to settle historical Treaty of Waitangi claims.
The Agreement in Principle is a significant milestone towards a Deed of Settlement which will settle all historical claims for Rangitāne within the Wairarapa and Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua region.
The Agreement in Principle sets out a broad redress package to settle the historical Treaty claims and includes financial redress of $32.5 million and the transfer of seven Crown-owned sites of cultural significance to the iwi. It also includes an opportunity for Rangitāne to acquire commercial properties, including Crown Forest Licenced land (Ngāumu Forest).
The Crown in negotiating the Agreement in Principle has made a number of provisional acknowledgements to Rangitāne that certain actions and/or omissions were in breach of Te Tiriti of Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi and its principles. The key themes where acknowledgements have been made include:
- Crown purchasing pre-1865
- Seventy Mile Bush/Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua purchasing post-1865
- Native land laws
- Wairarapa Moana
- Public works takings
- Protest movements
- Pāpāwai and Kaikōkirikiri gifted lands
- Loss of taonga and environment
- Cultural impacts and identity
One of the important acknowledgements for Rangitāne is the acknowledgement by the Crown that Rangitāne is an iwi of Wairarapa and Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua and that its former lack of recognition of Rangitāne contributed to the challenges experienced by Rangitāne in maintaining a distinct iwi presence from 1840 to the present.
The Crown acknowledges that Rangitāne are a landless iwi today and in fact were in a landless state by 1900. Rangitāne lost approximately 1.5 million acres of land in a two year period between 1853 and 1854 and in 2003 it was calculated that Rangitāne had only 1.5% of the original land base of 2.5 million acres remaining.
Rangitāne Negotiator, Jason Kerehi, believes the Agreement in Principle is a significant milestone in the pathway towards rebuilding the iwi’s cultural identity and economic base and to realise the dreams of the Rangitāne tūpuna who chose to engage with the Crown from 1840. Jason believes that the overall redress package provides a good balance between cultural and financial redress. He is pleased that they have been able to negotiate substantive redress over Pukaha/Mt Bruce which is of great significance to Rangitāne as the last remnants of Te Tapere Nui o Whātonga or the Great Forest of Whātonga (the grandfather of Rangitāne) that extended from Takapau in the North to Masterton in the South. This area was known as the Seventy (or Forty) Mile Bush to the settlers.
Jason also explains that the cultural and commercial property redress in the Agreement in Principle has been strategically negotiated by the Rangitāne Settlement Negotiations Trust to ensure that sites of great significance to Rangitāne were returned or some formal relationship arrangement put in place. The redress negotiated is also about getting an even geographical spread across a significant area of over 2 million acres of land.
James Rimene and Manahi Paewai, who are the named claimants for the iwi wide Treaty claims, are excited by the cultural revitalisation opportunities that the settlement will provide. They both believe that strong cultural identity, together with quality education, is the key to success and that the settlement package can provide a springboard for these to occur in a Māori/Rangitāne context.
Not only have the iwi signed an Agreement in Principle with the Crown, they have also ratified and established the Rangitāne post settlement governance entity, the Rangitāne Tū Mai Ra Trust. This Trust will be the recipient of the redress as outlined in the Agreement in Principle and is charged with working with and for the iwi to rebuild the cultural identity and economic base of Rangitāne arising from the redress negotiated as part of the settlement. Both the Rangitāne o Wairarapa and Rangitāne o Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua Rūnanga will continue to operate and fulfil its functions for their respective iwi members.
Rangitāne Negotiator and interim trustee of the Rangitāne Tū Mai Ra Trust, Mavis Mullins, is looking forward to working with the iwi in the post settlement phase to not only help the iwi, but to ensure that the region as a whole prospers as well. Mavis sees that the Wairarapa and Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua regions need the injection of cash and the settlement will allow Rangitāne to work with local businesses and local authorities to build a better future. Mavis is well aware that strategic relationships will be vitally important for Rangitāne in the post settlement phase and therefore key people can expect a knock on the door in the near future from the Rangitāne Tū Mai Ra Trust.
The Trust wishes to acknowledge both iwi Rūnanga and the hapū and marae of Rangitāne for their ongoing support and guidance.
For questions or queries about the Rangitāne Agreement in Principle, please contact:
Trustee and Negotiator for Rangitāne Settlement Negotiations Trust
Phone – 027 499 2643