Thursday, August 11, 2011
Mike Butler: Why revisit the 11 'full and final' treaty settlements made before 1958?
Richard Hill, who did the study in 1989, is professor of New Zealand studies at Victoria University, Wellington, and oversees the schedule of the Treaty of Waitangi Research Unit. His study provides an overview of the sequence of events that led to 11 settlements from 1944 to 1958, with a close looks at the evidence that shows they were regarded at the time as final. He also detailed settlements agreed upon in the 1920s for the lakes around Rotorua and Taupo.
This 22-year-old study is relevant because Taranaki tribes and Tuhoe, members of which accepted final settlements in 1944 and 1958 respectively, are in negotiation with the government for further final settlements. It is also relevant because none of these earlier settlements have been acknowledged in the current round of claims.
Professor Hill’s study starts with complaints from Ngai Tahu, the original squeaky wheel in the history of New Zealand grievances. That tribe complained to a number of governments about lack of adequate reserves created at the time of the sale and purchase of the South Island in 10 transactions from 1844 to 1864. A commission in 1879 suggested a tribal endowment in compensation, and from 1886 the government investigated granting blocks of land for landless natives.
From 1893, Commissioner Alexander Mackay and Surveyor-General Percy Smith began drawing up lists of South Island and Stewart Island Maori eligible for land grants. By September 28, 1904, a total of 4063 Maori were to be settled on 142,463 acres of government land.
The South Island Landless Natives Act 1906 passed these recommendations into law and statements in parliament, especially by Maori Cabinet Minister James Carroll indicated that this was a final settlement with Ngai Tahu, the study said.
But Ngai Tahu found the land allocations not viable economically, there were restrictions on land use, and the land was a long way from home so petitions began again resulting in the appointment of another royal commission in 1914. The Native Land Court was given the task, in 1916, to examine the landless native question. Chief judge W.E. Rawson suggested that monetary compensation may be more viable.
The Native Land Claims Commission (also known as the Jones commission after the Native Land Court’s chief judge Robert Jones), conducted an inquiry from 1921 to 1922 and recommended $354,000 settlement for Ngai Tahu. The amount was calculated based on a halfpenny for each of the saleable 12.5 million acres minus previous payments plus interest. Section 29 of the Native Land Amendment Act 1923 authorised the Native Land Court to investigate who in Ngai Tahu would be entitled to redress. It reported in 1925 that 1551 people would be entitled, the study said.
Meanwhile, a royal commission was set up to look into the North Island confiscations (raupatu). This inquiry, dubbed the Sim commission after Sir William Sim, recommended in 1926 that Taranaki tribes receive ₤5000 a year for land unjustly confiscated, and the Waikato Tainui federation receive ₤3000 annually
The Ngai Tahu settlement progressed in 1928, when parliament made provision for a trust board to represent Ngai Tahu beneficiaries in negotiation with the government. When these negotiations began, the beneficiaries wanted cash, and the only question debated was how much, and whether the payment would be in perpetuity, as preferred by the beneficiaries, or as a lump sum. Offers of £50,000 in 1931, and £100,000 in 1935 were rejected, the study said.
A further step regarding confiscation grievances was taken during the Great Depression, in 1931, when the Native Purpose Act authorized settlement on the condition that they were final, subject only to later alteration in case of error or omission.
The First Labour Government, elected 1935, agreed to address Ngai Tahu and Tainui grievances, but said that Maori would be best served by the party’s health, welfare, housing, and education programmes. Ngai Tahu beneficiaries met acting Native Affairs Minister Frank Langston in 1938 to seek a final settlement of all claims. Sums sought ranged from £364,583 to £375,000 to provide for the tribe’s future needs, the study said.
The 1939-1945 war delayed progress in settlements. The Maori Battalion made a significant contribution to fighting in Greece, Crete, Italy, North Africa, and the Middle East. Even the Waikato Maori King, who did not want to co-operate with the government until grievances had been settled, urged supporters to help out in non-combative roles. By 1943, Maori were asking for action on the grievances as quid pro quo.
Eruera Tirikatene, a Ngai Tahu elder, was elected to cabinet on May 26, 1943. He immediately urged final settlements, starting with the Ngai Tahu claim, the longest-running. By August 1944 a further 48 claims had come in. A conference in October of that year resulted in 400 delegates demanding immediate consideration of grievances, the study said.
The Ngai Tahu Claim Settlement Act 1944, which passed on December 15, 1944, awarded ₤300,000, payable at a rate of ₤10,000 a year for 30 years. The preamble to the Act describes it as a full and final settlement of the Ngāi Tahu claim. In 1946, legislation reconstituted the Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board, which enabled the funds to be administered.
The 1944 Taranaki Maori Claims Settlement Act was intended as a final settlement of claims over 1863 confiscation in the area. Taranaki Maori Trust Board confirmed the ₤5000 annuity that had been paid since the Sim commission, plus a £300 lump sum payment for loss of property at Parihaka in 1881. The Act described it as a “full settlement and discharge of the aforesaid claims”, the study said.
The Waikato-Maniapoto Maori Claims Settlement Act 1946, passed on October 7, 1946, concerned the confiscation of Maori lands in the Waikato and provided for the establishment of the Tainui Maori Trust Board to receive ₤5000 a year in perpetuity plus £5000 and a further £1000 a year for 35 years, to cover arrears since 1936, when negotiations with the Labour government began.
Initially the Bill did not include “Maniapoto” in its title. Maniapoto were key fighters in the Waikato war but did not have much of their land confiscated. Its inclusion came after a flurry of protests. Preamble to the Act describes it as a final settlement. There was no dissent from within Tainui to this, and no public opposition to passing the legislation. Waikato leader Princess Te Puea said that although the legislation “could never wipe away the blood that has been shed, it means much to know that we have been proved right”, the study said.
In the Finance No. 2 Act, on October 12, 1946, the government settled with Whakatohea, a tribe located in the eastern Bay of Plenty region that had sustained land confiscation, for a lump sum payment of £20,000.
In the 1946 election, on Wednesday, November 27, the Labour government lost three seats, substantially reducing its majority to four. Since the seats it held included the four Maori seats, the government was said by its opponents to rely on a Māori mandate. The Labour Party received the highest amount of Maori support to that date – 63.85 percent, the study said.
The Ngai Tahu Trust Board later claimed that the 1944 legislation was enacted only with support of a few beneficiaries, but evidence shows that there was only small opposition in the Tuahiwi-Kaiapoi area. Although Ngai Tahu may have felt compelled to accept the settlement, the evidence shows they did accept it.
Another issue was to do with lands that had become surplus to the government. Asurplus lands commission reported to parliament in October 1948 concluding that certain tribes had suffered an injustice because certain lands had become surplus lands of the Crown. The commission recommended that the injustice could be atoned for by giving these tribes equity in 87,582 acres of surplus land. This was legislated into effect in 1953. Tainui received £4155.
The study detailed other final settlements, which included:
A £20,000 lump sum that was paid to the Waikaremoana-Wairoa Maori Trust Board as compensation for confiscation of the 70,000-acre Kauhoroa Block in Wairoa in 1867 as punishment for involvement in the Hauhau wars. The agreement was dated May 12, 1949.
A lump sum of £38,000 to be paid for confiscation of the Patutahi Block near Gisborne, was agreed upon in 1950.
A sum of £50,000 was paid to claimants concerning the sale and purchase of the Aorangi Block in the Waipukurau district around 1856.
In 1953 the government settled claims for the Ngatahira area of the Omarunui Block in the Ikaroa district for £4000.
The Far North Taitokerau settled surplus lands claims in their district for £47,154
A claim relating to Rotorua Township Pukeroa Oruawhata land in Waiariki district was settled in 1954 for £16,500.
In 1958, Urewera claims were settled with a lump sum payment of £100,000.
From the late 1960s, inflation eroded the value of the annual payments and Ngai Tahu wanted to rescind their 1944 agreement in favour of making their £20,000 annual payment (it had been adjusted) an in-perpetuity payment in line with other settlements, offering to make that the full and final settlement. The Third Labour Government legislated in favour of that in 1973, the study said.
Professor Hill also pointed to the 1922 Arawa lakes settlement, which agreed that the government controlled the lakebeds and had the right to use the water, while the tribe had title to all islands not already sold, and right to access them, as well as use, management and control of parts of lake beds, and any Crown lands on the border could be vested in Arawa. Tribe members could catch any indigenous fish. Arawa District Trust Board would receive an annual grant of ₤6000
He also described the 1926 Tuwharetoa settlement, in which the Tuwharetoa Trust Board would receive ₤1000, plus ₤3000 annually, plus the revenue of 50 per cent of fishing licences above ₤3000 (and other sundry revenues) for Lake Taupo and surrounding waters.
Why revisit the 11 "full and final" treaty settlements made before 1958? Some explanation is required.
Settlements of Major Maori Claims in the 1940s, Richard Hill, Department of Justice, Wellington, 1989.
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