Sunday, June 15, 2014
Mike Butler: $200m challenge for HB tribes
Two claimant groups say that the $200-million they will soon receive will hold the key to Hawke’s Bay prosperity although there is no suggestion of how that would happen and there is no evidence that widespread prosperity resulted from big treaty settlements elsewhere.
The Crown has signed agreements in principle to settle historical Treaty of Waitangi claims with seven tribal groups around Wairoa and with the Heretaunga-Tamatea group. Each group will get $100-million.
The agreements follow previous Hawke’s Bay settlements with Mohaka’s Ngati Pahauwera ($20-million), the Tangoio based Maungaharuru-Tangitu Hapu ($25-million), Ahuriri ($19.5-million), and the Waimakuku Whanau Trust ($375,000).
While a total injection of around $265-million may be sold as the key to prosperity for Hawke’s Bay’s $7-billion GDP economy, large settlements in the South Island and Waikato have created wealthy tribal corporations with a few on big salaries while tribe members further down the food chain on welfare are still supported by central government. (1)
Notably absent in Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson’s press releases are his usual comments along the lines that these tribes “suffered dreadfully”. This reflects a reality that Heretaunga-Tamatea and Wairoa groups did not suffer much. They sold land to, cooperated with, and benefited from settlers arriving from Britain in the 19th century.
There were no indications of the nature of grievances in the official press releases.
A closer look at the Wairoa agreement reveals that the Crown accepts the blame for early land purchases, for the outbreak of war in 1865, for some Wairoa people not consenting to the 1867 deed of cession, for summary executions of prisoners in 1866 and 1868, for the detention of Wairoa people on the Chatham Islands without trial, for selling southern blocks without the consent of some living elsewhere, for failing to consult Wairoa people about the introduction of the native land laws and using those laws to sell land, for failing to recognise the rights of Wairoa people to the bed of Lake Waikaremoana, for pressuring Wairoa people into selling their interests in the Waikaremoana block, for failing to recognise Wairoa peoples' sensitivities to mountains, land, wetlands, water, and fish, for failing to consult Wairoa people when taking control of petroleum, for not letting Maori children speak Maori at state schools, for forcing Wairoa Maori to live away from Wairoa, and for not thanking Wairoa people for fighting in the two world wars. (2)
The Heretaunga-Tamatea agreement has fewer grievances and these are mostly related to land sales.
The Crown takes the blame for buying several blocks in 1851 and 1854 without investigating the customary ownership, for not upholding an 1858 agreement to exclude a 1870 acre block, for failing to address grievances in a timely manner, for creating tensions by buying land which led to fighting between the hapū of Heretaunga-Tamatea in 1857, for failing to provide adequate reserves, for allowing the Native Land Court in 1867 to award ownership of the Heretaunga block to 10 individual owners and for not stopping those owners from selling that land in 1870, for not always responding to issues raised by the Repudiation Movement (a group that reneged on land sales), for allowing Heretaunga-Tamatea to become virtually landless, for failing to recognise Heretaunga-Tamatea peoples' sensitivities to mountains, land, wetlands, water, and fish, for not letting Maori children speak Maori at state schools, and for not thanking Heretaunga-Tamatea people for fighting in the two world wars. (3)
Agreed historical accounts are yet to be written following the chapter headings set out in both agreements and presumably this agreed history will become the official orthodoxy taught at schools and universities.
Why did the Wairoa and Heretaunga-Tamatea groups get a total of $200-million and how does the Crown work out financial redress sums? A letter from the Treaty Settlements Office to He Toa Takatini, the claimant group for Heretaunga-Tamatea, explained that the main considerations were: The amount of land “lost”, the nature of alleged treaty breaches, benchmarks set by existing settlements of similar grievances, the population of the claimant group today, whether there are overlapping claims, and any other special factors. (4)
In short, the main factors being a calculation based on tribal membership today and the difference between land claimed in 1840 and land in tribal ownership (not individual Maori ownership) today.
He Toa Takatini chairman David Tipene-Leach told the Hawke’s Bay Today that $100-million would “settle the claims over the 1.47-million acres of land alienated from Maori hands”. He could have simply said "sold" because "alienate" means to "transfer ownership of (property rights)".
For the record, few Maori lived in Hawke’s Bay in 1840 because “Musket War” invasions from the north and west had depopulated the area. There may have been 4400 Maori then living in Hawke’s Bay, mostly around Wairoa.
From 1844 , leaseholders started to move into Hawke’s Bay. The first major land sale and purchase in the area was on November 17, 1851, when 300 Maori signed the Ahuriri deed (Napier) saying that they had “sighed over, wept over and bidden farewell to” 265,000 acres for £1500.
Wairoa faced the threat of armed conflict in 1865 when Pai Marire-Hau Hau converts brought fanatical hatred nurtured in the Taranaki and Waikato conflicts in the previous five years. The 1865 armed conflict that the Crown now blithely accepts responsibility for in the Wairoa agreement was caused by anti-government fighters who originally came from Taranaki. The detention without trial on the Chatham Islands involved the same people.
A total of $265-million is a substantial amount –like a Lotto win with extra zeros. The big question now is whether these tribal groups are going to do anything other than growing private, tax-exempt business empires as all the other treaty settlement recipients have done.
Also published in the Hawke's Bay Today on Friday, June 13, 2014
1. Hawke’s Bay Region Economic Monitor June 2012. http://www.hawkesbaychamber.co.nz/docs/economicreports/hb_economic_monitor_jun_12_270712.pdf
2. Wairoa-Crown Agreement in Principle, http://nz01.terabyte.co.nz/ots/DocumentLibrary/TeTiraAIPFINAL.pdf
3. Crown and Heretaunga-Tamatea Agreement in Principle.http://nz01.terabyte.co.nz/ots/DocumentLibrary/HttAIPFINAL.pdf
4. Quantum Factors for He Toa Takatini, http://www.hetoatakitini.iwi.nz/uploads///Quantum_factors_for_He_Toa_Takitini_Letter-_5_September_2013.pdf
at 3:14 PM