Final sign-off for deed of settlement with Taranaki iwi

Final sign-off for deed of settlement with Taranaki iwi

Hundreds of people have turned out to witness the signing of a $70 million treaty deal between Taranaki Iwi and the Crown at Pukeiti Gardens.

The Treaty of Waitangi deed of settlement signed today includes 29 culturally significant sites and $70 million in financial redress.

Hundreds of people turned out when the iwi and the Government initialled the deed of settlement on July 7, when Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson apologised for historical wrongs.

Mr Finlayson said today the claim was one of the most significant in the country and reflected Treaty breaches such as "warfare that involved loss of life, scorched earth tactics, imprisonment, raupatu [confiscations], disempowerment and the Crown's unprecedented actions at Parihaka".

"We can never fully compensate for the past wrongs the people of Taranaki endured," the minister said.

"However, this settlement provides the basis for Taranaki Iwi to develop a much stronger future, and for a new relationship with the Crown based on genuine partnership."

At the initialling ceremony, Mr Finlayson told the crowd the iwi had suffered bitterly at the hands of the Crown.

Today, he said: "Today's deed signing is an important step towards moving away from historical grievance and into a much better future for Taranaki Iwi.

"The Crown unreservedly apologises for the many injustices carried out against Taranaki Iwi during those wars."

Taranaki Iwi chairman Toka Walden told 3 News the settlement would never be able to solve all grievances but it was a start.

"We know that we're not going to be compensated for all the losses and the breaches, but it's a beginning," he said.

In 1881, 600 police officers and volunteers took part in an attack on the settlement of Parihaka, in west Taranaki, which had become a centre of peaceful protest against land confiscations.

The deed of settlement will be taken to the parliament, where it is expected to be enacted in legislation in the coming year.

Taranaki Iwi is one of eight iwi in the region.

NZN / 3 News