Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mike Butler: Picton tribe’s $11.7m queried

Gone are the days when New Zealanders of Maori ancestry could fax in a claim noting an historical grievance allegedly suffered and wait for the payment to arrive. One such claim has produced a settlement worth $11.7-million negotiated between the Crown and the Picton tribe, Te Atiawa Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu. This deal prompted a series of questions from reader Doug Howard.

While such settlements are publicly notified by cursory press release, details can be difficult to dig out if you don’t know where to look. It is helpful for the public to know what the claim was.

The Te Atiawa Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu settlement deed (1), which is available on the Office of Treaty Settlements website, explains that the tribe in question came from Taranaki in the 1820. At that time, tribes were on the move to escape inter-tribal warfare and related murder and cannibalism which reduced the Maori population by around 42 percent or 70,000 people.(2)

Te Atiawa and other Taranaki tribes took northern South Island land in a series of battles against the resident Kurahaupo peoples. British settlers bought the land from residents who had only been there for about 20 years.

More specifically, Ngati Toa and Te Atiawa sold land to the New Zealand Company through the Kapiti deed in October 1839, and the Queen Charlotte Sound deed, signed by 30 Te Atiawa chiefs in November 1839. Payment was made in goods, including firearms.

The Treaty of Waitangi, signed by 27 chiefs, most if not all of them Te Ātiawa, at Queen Charlotte Sound on May 4 and 5, 1840, meant pre-treaty land transactions would be investigated.

Investigation of such sales in the northern South Island meant the NZ Company paid a further £200 to Motueka chiefs, £200 for those of Wakatu, £100 for Ngatiawa, and £10 for chief Ngapiko, plus an additional sum of £290 for Golden Bay Maori, who were absent from Commissioner William Spain’s pre-treaty land transaction hearings.

Chiefs sold land for what seemed a pretty good deal at the time. They found that if they kicked up a fuss they could get an even better deal with extra payments. When the government started buying land, the prices went even higher.

These transactions are detailed in the Te Atiawa Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu settlement deed, along with the history of the settlement of Nelson and the finer points of the New Zealand Company colonisation scheme. Those with forebears who came to New Zealand under that scheme would know that the dream was more rosy than the reality.

The Te Atiawa Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu settlement is just one of a number involving the northern South Island. The tribe’s website gives no indication of the number of members it has apart from the its 10 trustees.

Other such deals awaiting legislation include Ngati Kuia (1600 members) for $24.874-million, Rangitane o Wairau (1000 members) for $25.374-million, Ngati Apa ki te Ra To (700 members) for $28.374-million, as well as Te Rauparaha’s Ngati Toa (4500 members), which has interests in that area as well as around Kapiti and Wellington. They are to get $70.6 million.

Who are these local Maori? By now they would be blended with a number of other tribes as well as with a large amount of non-Maori ancestry. To register as a member of Te Atiawa Te Tau Ihu, an applicant would have to show descent from a primary ancestor of Te Atiawa.

What is their legitimacy to make a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal? The answer to this may be traced to a seriously deficient policy of the Lange Labour government which enabled claims back to 1840 to be investigated. No government since then has questioned this policy.

What followed shows government dysfunction at its worst. People filing a claim needed only to show that they were of Maori descent and note the historical grievance allegedly suffered. The Waitangi Tribunal, a government body created to investigate claims, would add the claim to others of the region and write it up to create the most compelling case for cash compensation. Another government body, the Office of Treaty Settlements, would negotiate a substantial cash payment.

The entire grievance-redress process exists outside of our democratic process. If Mr Howard wished to object to changes of place names in an area in which he and his family have lived in for the past 172 years, there is nothing he can do, as we saw in the case of Devonport residents objecting 3.2ha of prime Defence Force land as commercial redress with Ngati Whatua o Orakei. What is more, parliament rubberstamps each settlement. Queen Charlotte Sound will be known as Queen Charlotte Sound/Totaranui.

Thankfully, another Labour-led government set a deadline for historical claims for midnight September 1, 2008. In the end, 2034 historical grievances were registered, which was highly surprising since only nine grievances existed in 1882. The northern South Island Te Atiawa grievance is history re-litigated.

The place to go to for anyone wanting information on treaty settlements is the Claims Progress page at the Office of Treaty Settlements website.

1. Te Atiawa Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu settlement deed,

2. John Robinson, The Corruption of New Zealand Democracy


Anonymous said...

In 1840, the South Island below Kaiapoi lay practically deserted. Edward Shortland's 1846 census found some 2, 500 Ngai Tahu, resident at several coastal locations. To suggest that 2, 500 people [a] lived on; [b] cultivated; or [c] hunted and gathered over 13 million hectares of the South Island is sheer casuistry.

Unknown said...

So we are paying compensation to Taranaki tribes for land they stole by force? We are also paying compensation to the people they stole it from. And in the middle of that the only people who actually paid for any land were they settlers - the descendants of whom are now paying the compensation. The whole thing is a scam and the claimants are laughing all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

A prominent Maori has admitted in the last month that they are not the indigenous people's, so therefore Maori "acquired" the land they claim was taken off them from previous settlers! Why then, are we compensating these so-called part-Maori? It is time our PM took the time to read about NZs history, and put an immediate STOP to this ongoing gravy train, which is contributing to the partous economical state NZ is in. This ludicrous continual "settlements" MUST stop!

Barry said...

I agree with Claire Kelly. And it's US they are laughing at. Our MPs should be in gaol for this corruption.

Anonymous said...

So if I understand the treaty process correctly the current taxpayers of New Zealand are paying compensation to small groups of people (that claim to be "maori") who claim to have occupied, in many cases took by force, areas of land from other "indigenous people" then sold this land for an agreed market price ?

What a SCAM !!

Why are our our elected leaders continuing to waste our tax dollars on this obviously Racist Scam which does not even have a proven historical grounding.

My mimnimal research has shown that there are numerous examples (including artifacts that are held in the Auckland Museum) that there were European (Greek) people in New Zealand nearly 2000 years ago !!

What makes it even worse is that the taxpayers of N.Z are also paying for the investigation of claims and the insuing legal battle (as there is no asset test for the various claimants when applying for legal aid !!) so in simple terms Paying to Fight Yourself !!

This Must End Now !!
It wouldn't happen anywhere else in the World.

I will certainly be standing my ground when the next round of bludgers claim my beachfront section, oh, they already have a claim in for that area - I say bring it on !!

At Christmas in the Coromandle a group of "Maori" decided to use their vehicles to block a public boat ramp, mistakenly believing that they had the right to do so. What these people forgot, or never bothered to find out, was that the ramp was built by the local community and privately funded anually by the people that built and use it.

Talk about asking for trouble - and they found it.
The well meaning Council tried to get involved only to discover that they didn't have any legal say in the matter.
The result being that the status quo continues.

In my opinion all Treaty funding should be stopped immediately.

Remember everyone that as proven with the boat ramp episode any community that sticks together will get what it wants.

Pay no tax or rates if you think that your money is being wasted.

How long do you think that Local Council and the our glorious Civil Service could survive with no income?

I feel extremely sorry for the generations that follow especialy when the up-coming back door "Maori Supremacy Bill is passed this year which will result in non-maori having fewer legal rights than the "indigenous people of N.Z"

- Indigenous My Backside !!


Anonymous said...

I am yet to find anyone - young or old who agree with all these "handouts". The more you start reading history the more you see how much of what was purported to have happened to justify compensation actaully never happened ( in many cases it was the opposite ! ).We NZers are just tooooo apathetic - "she'll be right" just has to be abandonded because " she ain't right". Type "John Adsell" into Google - we all need to get behind him and support his stance as well as NZCPR - afterall it is what 99% of NZers think.Donate to both causes.
We are not anti-Maori we are anti-seperatist. Come on NZ - wake-up before we are sold down the river by our traitorist politicians

Dave Hill said...

John Keys Government along with Lange's and Clarkes will be remembered by future generations as the people who destroyed NZs future as one people, one law and equal rights. We are sleep walking to a racist non democratic banana republic