(1) This is an account of the historical events upon which the Crown’s acknowledgements and apology in sections 7 and 8 are based.
Ngāti Whare: Origins
(2) Ngāti Whare are the descendants of Toi Te Huatahi. Ngāti Whare take their name from their most prominent ancestor, Wharepakau-Tao-Tao-Ki-Te-Kapua (Wharepakau) of the ancient Tini-o-Toi, who had settled around the Bay of Plenty. After a series of heke, Wharepakau and his whānau migrated to the Rangitaiki and Te Whāiti-Nui-a-Toi area. Together, Wharepakau and his nephew Tangiharuru fought and defeated Te Marangaranga, the original occupants of the land. When the fighting ceased Wharepakau and his whānau took up residence with Te Marangaranga on lands along the Whirinaki River, bordered by a great expanse of ancient forest rich in resources. From that time the descendants of Wharepakau and Te Marangaranga adopted the name
“Ngāti Whare” in recognition of their common ancestor.
(3) Over time the descendants of Wharepakau increased in number and prospered, and in the process formed hapū. New pā and kāinga were erected. Patterns of seasonal resource use were developed through Te Whāiti-Nui-a-Toi and neighbouring areas. Strategic marriages were also made with the descendants of Tangiharuru, to whom Ngāti Whare remained closely connected, as well as with others such as the descendants of Ngā Potiki, Tuhoe and Apa Hapai-Taketake. Occasionally persons from outside hapū were invited by Ngāti Whare to reside with them and through intermarriage these groups were incorporated as new hapū into Ngāti Whare.
(4) The hapū of Ngāti Whare comprise Ngāti Kohiwi, Ngāti Te Karaha, Ngāi Te Au, Ngāti Tuahiwi, Ngāti Whare ki Ngā Potiki, Ngāti Mahanga, Ngāti Hamua ki Te Whāiti and Warahoe ki Te Whāiti.
(5) Ngāti Whare held their land and resources under collective tribal and hapū custodianship. Their land tenure system did not operate on fixed iwi and hapū boundaries. Ngāti Whare practised a system where the rights of hapū or whānau to travel through, to gather resources from, to cultivate upon, or to occupy lands depended to a great extent on the genealogical, social and political relationships between different kin groups.
(6) Ngāti Whare generally lived in peace with their neighbours. At times, however, Ngāti Whare hapū fought against their neighbours and sometimes they allied with their neighbours against common foes. In the 1820s Ngāti Whare were drawn into the wars which ranged throughout New Zealand, as access to muskets upset existing relationships between hapū and iwi. The disruption caused by the fighting and the complex alliances that were made and remade in this period was considerable. By the mid 1830s more stable relationships between Ngāti Whare and their neighbours were reinstated, often with the assistance of peace-making marriages. Ngāti Whare continued to occupy their lands largely as before.
(7) Ngāti Whare did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi. Ngāti Whare visited places of early European settlement, such as Whakatane, Tūranganui-a-Kiwa and Ahuriri in the Hawke's Bay where they were exposed to new ideas and practices such as literacy. They also worked and traded goods in the developing colonial economy.
(8) In the two decades following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi the Crown did not try to exercise any form of authority in the Urewera region, including over Ngāti Whare. Ngāti Whare did not sell any of their land. The only European presence was the missionary James Preece and his family, from 1847 to 1852, who resided on land that Ngāti Whare gifted near their kāinga Ahikereru. After Preece’s departure Ngāti Whare continued to practise the Christian faith, led by their own teachers.
War in the Waikato
(9) The first visit by a government official to the area took place in 1862. It was only after war broke out between the Crown and Māori in the early 1860s in Taranaki and later in the Waikato that the arrival of the Crown had any real impact upon Ngāti Whare. Following the Crown’s unjust invasion of the Waikato in 1863 the Kingitanga was pushed down the Waikato River. In early 1864, senior emissaries of the King sought support from the tribes of Te Urewera. Ngāti Whare and Ngāti Manawa held a hui and decided that the two iwi would divide, one to go with the Māori King, the other to go with the Government. In late March 1864 approximately 20 Ngāti Whare went to the Waikato and fought with their whanaunga against the Crown at Orakau. A number of Ngāti Whare people were killed but others managed to return home. Ngāti Whare had no further involvement in the Waikato War.
(10) In 1862, the Taranaki spiritual leader Te Ua Haumene developed the peaceful, biblically based doctrines of the Pai Mārire faith. In the context of warfare his doctrines were misinterpreted and misapplied by some of his emissaries. In February 1865 a group of Pai Mārire emissaries, including Kereopa Te Rau and Patara Raukatauri, arrived at Tauaroa pā near Te Whāiti en route to Tūranga. Te Urewera Māori were divided on whether to accept the new religion. Many Ngāti Whare embraced its teachings while other iwi rejected them.
(11) Kereopa and Patara proceeded to Whakatane and Opotiki later that month and on 2 March 1865 Kereopa led the group that killed Reverend Volkner at Opotiki. Ngāti Whare played no part in his death. In April 1865 the Government proclaimed that it would use all the means in its power to suppress Pai Mārire and called upon all
“well disposed” persons to assist them.
(12) In June 1865, members of Ngāti Whare and another iwi resolved to accompany many of the Pai Mārire emissaries back to the Taranaki region. Ngāti Manawa, who had previously warned Pai Mārire not to enter their rohe, sought to stop them. They fortified Te Tāpiri and demanded to know the whereabouts of Kereopa. Ngāti Whare and their allies took offence at these actions and besieged Te Tāpiri. Over the period of a fortnight reinforcements arrived to support the besiegers. Kereopa was with one of these groups. After some fighting and loss of life on both sides, the defenders evacuated the pā and escaped to Rotorua.
(13) In July 1865, a Crown commander visited the recently erected Ngāti Whare pā at Te Whāiti called Te Harema. He concluded that Ngāti Whare were not taking any further role in Kereopa’s campaign. Kereopa remained in the region until his capture in late 1871. Ngāti Whare continued to practise the Pai Mārire faith and lived in relative peace for three years.
War and Destruction 1869–1871
(14) In June 1868 Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki led the escape of several hundred Māori, who had been held for two and a half years without trial on the Chatham Islands following fighting on the East Coast between Crown forces and Pai Mārire adherents. Te Kooti and his followers (known as the Whakarau) landed south of Tūranga and hoped to find sanctuary in Taupo.
(15) The Crown set out to apprehend the Whakarau and a number of skirmishes were fought through July and August 1868. Te Kooti attacked Matawhero in early November 1868, where a considerable number of Māori and Pākehā men, women, and children were killed. Following this Crown forces besieged and defeated the Whakarau at Ngatapa pā. Some escaped, but a considerable number of Māori men, women, and children were killed. This included the execution of prisoners by Crown forces without trial.
(16) In January 1869, Te Kooti sought refuge in the Urewera region. Ngāti Whare joined neighbours in an agreement to support Te Kooti and his followers seeing him as a prophet and identifying with the injustice of his detention without trial by the Crown. Some Ngāti Whare took part in an attack, led by Te Kooti, on Mohaka in April 1869, in which a significant number of Māori and Pākehā men, women, and children were killed. Following this the Crown planned a three-pronged military operation into Te Urewera in an effort to capture or kill Te Kooti and to punish those who supported him.
(17) In pursuit of Te Kooti, a Crown force led by the same officer who had overseen the execution of prisoners at Ngatapa, made a surprise attack on the Ngāti Whare pā Te Harema at Ahikereru on 6 May 1869. Te Kooti was not there nor were most of the Ngāti Whare fighting force. In total five or six Ngāti Whare men were killed. Some were shot as they resisted the attackers, while others were shot down as they tried to retreat from the pā “hampered with their women and children”. Some of the men shot were elderly. A few men managed to escape. As many as 50 women and children were taken prisoner.
(18) According to Ngāti Whare oral tradition, women were raped in the attack and as a consequence some committed suicide by drowning themselves in the Whirinaki River. The captured women and children were handed over to Māori troops fighting alongside the Crown, and taken from their rohe. The Commander of the Crown forces commented that he had done this
“so that this hapū will be destroyed”. Those Ngāti Whare remaining in Te Urewera were told that they could surrender and join their women in exile, where they were to remain. Te Harema pā was destroyed, leaving it in a
“mass of flames”. The Crown forces also looted and destroyed all other kāinga, cultivations, and provisions in the valley.
(19) Members of Ngāti Whare accompanied Te Kooti to Taupo and Te Rohe Potae during 1869 and 1870, where Te Kooti sought an audience with the Māori King. King Tawhiao refused to receive him. Te Kooti and his followers, including some members of Ngāti Whare, subsequently fought Crown forces at Te Ponanga and Te Porere before being pursued around the central North Island and slipping back into Te Urewera on 8 February 1870.
(20) Te Kooti was never captured, but was pardoned in 1883 and returned to Te Whāiti in 1884 to acknowledge those who had sheltered him by opening the new meeting house, Eripitana.
(21) During early 1870 the members of Ngāti Whare who accompanied Te Kooti returned to Ahikereru. Crown officers then negotiated with Ngāti Whare to surrender. The Defence Minister offered immunity from prosecution to those who did so voluntarily. They had to surrender their weapons and leave Te Urewera. On 25 April 1870, 18 Ngāti Whare surrendered including six men, three women and nine children. On 20 May 1870, the Ngāti Whare chief Hapurona Kohi surrendered, taking the remaining Ngāti Whare with him. They joined the prisoners taken at Te Harema and were placed under the control of Crown allies at Te Pūtere.
(22) While kept at Te Pūtere, Ngāti Whare had to supplement insufficient government rations by growing and catching their own food, despite the limited and poor quality of the land made available to them. In February 1871, Hapurona Kohi and Hamiora Potakurua complained of their difficulties producing food at Te Pūtere. The Defence Minister promised officials would look for other land and said that “they should have a supply of clothing and also of food”. The Minister informed chiefs at Te Pūtere that they could return home on 15 April 1872. Ngāti Whare gradually returned to Te Whāiti between 1872 and 1874.
(23) Some Ngāti Whare women remained near the coast because of the shame they felt in consequence of the circumstances of their capture and imprisonment.
(24) The Ringatu Church, established by Te Kooti, spread through the region and Pai Mārire was abandoned.
(25) In 1872 Urewera hapū and iwi established a confederation—Te Whitu Tekau—to coordinate decision-making in the region. Ngāti Whare participated in and usually supported the confederation. It objected to lands being surveyed and title being determined by the Native Land Court, as in other places this had led to land alienation.
The Native Land Court and Crown Purchasing
(26) The Native Land Court was established under the Native Land Acts of 1862 and 1865 to determine the owners of Māori land
“according to Native Custom” and to convert customary title into title derived from the Crown.
(27) The Court’s investigation of title for land could be initiated with an application in writing by any Māori. The Court did not act on all applications but in some instances surveys or investigations of title proceeded without the support of all of the hapū who claimed interests in the lands. In most cases the land was surveyed and then the Court would hear the claims of the claimants and any counter-claimants. Those the Court determined were owners received a certificate of title.
(28) In the late 1870s the Native Land Court began to investigate title to lands along the western side of Te Urewera. These lands became known by the block names Heruiwi, Heruiwi 4, Kaingaroa 1 and 2, Kuhawaea, Whirinaki, Rūnanga, Pukahunui, and Pohokura.
(29) Ngāti Whare maintained opposition to the Court and did not actively participate in hearings or contest the title investigations, even though they had interests in these blocks. Ngāti Whare interests were later acknowledged by a leading rangatira of another iwi that was awarded a share of the titles to most of these blocks. The Native Land Court awarded all the blocks to other iwi, even though—
(30) Some Ngāti Whare names were included in the titles to most of these blocks when other iwi chose to include them in the lists of owners they handed into the Court. While these individuals were possibly seen as representatives of Ngāti Whare interests, or the interests of Ngāti Whare hapū, they did not in law have a trustee capacity for all Ngāti Whare.
(31) Following the Native Land Court hearings those awarded interests in the blocks sold much of the land to the Crown. Kuhawaea 1 block was sold to a private purchaser, as were parts of Pukahunui, Pohokura and Kaingaroa 2 blocks. In 1907 a Ngāti Whare rangatira denied that Ngāti Whare received any money from these sales. The rapid alienation of these blocks left Ngāti Whare eager to protect their remaining lands from sale.
The Seddon Agreement 1894–1895 and the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896
(32) In 1894 a delegation led by Premier Richard Seddon travelled through Te Urewera. Seddon wanted to hear the views of Urewera groups on a range of issues. All land in Te Urewera was still held under Māori customary title and Seddon also wanted to explain Crown policy on issues relating to Māori land and prosperity, in particular in relation to the determination of title. When visiting Ngāti Whare, Seddon argued that benefits would flow to Ngāti Whare if title to their lands was determined. He stated that the Crown would act as a ‘protector’ for Ngāti Whare, as set out in the Treaty of Waitangi. Ngāti Whare responded positively to these suggestions and agreed to enter further discussions.
(33) Crown officials met with Te Urewera leaders in Ruatoki in January 1895 and advised that trigonometrical survey work would be carried out through Te Urewera in the near future. Survey work began in April 1895. Ngāti Whare and other Urewera Māori were fearful that consequences of the surveying would be land loss. Ngāti Whare obstructed the survey party at Te Whāiti. The Crown responded by sending soldiers to occupy Te Whāiti among other places.
(34) These events served as a catalyst for meetings in September 1895 between the Crown and Urewera leaders. Te Urewera leaders sought self-government and protection of their lands from alienation. The Premier offered Ngāti Whare and other Urewera Māori:
(35) Decisions for the use and alienation of land would be made collectively and according to Māori custom. Seddon also made statements about protecting birds and forests and providing trout to stock waterways.
(36) Parliament enacted the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896 to give effect to these agreements. The Act provided for an alternative to the Native Land Court to determine ownership of customary lands in a reserve of 656,000 acres, including the remaining lands of Ngāti Whare. Title was to be held at hapū level and would be determined by a Commission, comprised of five Tūhoe and two Pākehā commissioners. The Crown would pay the survey and other costs involved in determining title. In addition, local block committees would be set up to administer land and a General Committee established to deal with local affairs including making decisions about the alienation of land.
(37) Ngāti Whare believed this system would protect their lands in the Reserve from sale.
Te Whāiti¸ Title Determination
(38) The determination of land titles by the two Urewera Commissions was a drawn out process and proved difficult for Ngāti Whare. The first Urewera Commission investigated title to a series of blocks around Te Whāiti in 1901–1902. The Te Whāiti block was awarded to Ngāti Whare and another iwi, with a third iwi missing out. Other blocks around Te Whāiti included the Maraetahia, Otairi and Tawhiuau blocks, which were separately awarded to hapū of Ngāti Whare and another iwi.
(39) The Second Urewera Commission (1906–1907) heard nineteen appeals against the Te Whāiti block award. The original title was overturned. Ngāti Whare and the neighbouring iwi who had been excluded in 1902 were together awarded title. In total 318 Ngāti Whare individuals were granted title, along with 189 individuals from the neighbouring iwi. The Commission rejected some of the names Ngāti Whare put forward for inclusion on the title. In 1913 the Native Land Court on appeal added a further 65 Ngāti Whare names to the title.
Implementation of the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896
(40) The key aim of the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896 was to establish local Māori governance but no formal body was established for more than a decade. There was also considerable delay in establishing functioning Block Committees. In 1902, the first Urewera Commission appointed provisional block committees. They were not subsequently approved by the Crown because of the outstanding appeals to the Commission’s decisions on owners. A second group of provisional block committees were approved after the publication of the Commission’s 1907 awards.
(41) The Crown subsequently amended the Act in ways which undermined the system of self-government it provided for the Reserve. The first General Committee was elected in 1908. Later that year the Crown gave itself power to appoint and dismiss members of the Committee. Coupled with other amendments, this undermined the original democratic structure of the Reserve.
(42) The Crown appointed an Urewera General Committee, which included Wharepapa Whatanui of Ngāti Whare, as the governing body of the Reserve in March 1909. The Crown made no move to assist the Committee to prepare regulations for the running of the Reserve.
(43) In 1909 legislation was enacted empowering the Crown to declare individual blocks in the Reserve subject to the jurisdiction of the Native Land Court. Ngāti Whare were not consulted over these amendments to the 1896 Act.
Ngāti Whare in the Early 20th Century
(44) Ngāti Whare suffered poverty in the early twentieth century. Regular food shortages, combined with poor housing, exacerbated the impact of introduced diseases such as influenza, smallpox, measles, and typhoid. Aside from seasonal work outside Te Urewera there were few sources of income available to Ngāti Whare. In 1898 a series of unseasonal frosts swept through Te Urewera leading to total crop destruction.
(45) Other crop failures took place periodically to the 1910s, creating an environment of considerable economic and social stress for Ngāti Whare. Teachers at Te Whāiti Native School regularly informed the Crown about such issues.
(46) Ngāti Whare were, however, asset rich in the timber that grew on the Te Whāiti block. From the later nineteenth century they sought opportunities to sell some of the timber to generate an income, including limited harvesting of totara for fence posts. In 1909 Te Whāiti owners negotiated the sale of timber cutting rights with a private party, with the intention of establishing a sawmill. However, the Crown prevented the sale.
Te Whāiti Block: Purchase
(47) In 1910 some Ngāti Whare offered to sell 6000 acres in the Te Whāiti block to the Crown. The Crown wanted to secure land in the area and agreed to advances of two shillings per acre. That year, a Crown adviser suggested that the Te Whāiti block be subdivided to end disputes between Ngāti Whare and the other iwi with whom they shared the block. In 1913 the block was partitioned and Ngāti Whare received Te Whāiti 1 block of 45,048 acres.
(48) Ngāti Whare continued to pursue their economic options, taking their timber selling proposal to two meetings of the General Committee in 1914. The General Committee approved their proposal in April 1914, but the Crown did not endorse their decision effectively preventing the lease from taking place.
(49) Later that year, the Crown started purchasing the land interests of individuals in Te Urewera without seeking approval of the General Committee. This was illegal under the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896. The Crown’s land purchase agent was informed by the Native Department that future legislation would be required to
“validate these purchases, the present state of the law plainly requiring that all purchases should be made through the General Committee of the Urewera Natives”.
(50) In May 1915 the Crown resolved to purchase the Te Whāiti blocks. The Crown’s decision to purchase individual shares in the two Te Whāiti blocks prevented private leases from being completed and thus prevented Ngāti Whare from gaining any direct economic benefit from their land, other than sale to the Crown, for well over a decade.
(51) Under the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896, the final say in leasing and sale of the land or its timber was held by the General Committee. The law required the Crown to hold a meeting of the assembled owners of a land block, before beginning negotiations to purchase individual interests in the land. The Crown did not hold such a meeting in its negotiations for Te Whāiti and nothing was done to ensure that those selling their interests were left with sufficient land for their subsistence.
(52) Through the period of Crown purchase the Crown used a number of techniques to maximise sales in the Te Whāiti blocks. Resident non-sellers were actively restrained by the Crown from cutting timber for fence posts. The Crown worked to prevent hearing of applications made to the Māori Land Court by non-selling owners to partition out their interests so that they could utilise their own land as they saw fit. Absentee owners were more likely to sell their interests, although a good number of resident owners sold part of their interests. Such sales were likely driven by economic necessity.
(53) In 1916 legislation was enacted that allowed the Crown to purchase individual interests in the Reserve. In 1921 further legislation was enacted to retrospectively legalise Crown purchases in Te Urewera, including purchases in the Te Whāiti block. The General Committee was not consulted on these departures from the 1895 agreement and its powers were extinguished in the 1921 legislation.
(54) The Crown’s purchase of Te Whāiti 1 was based on its 1915 valuation of £18,687 for the 45,048 acres or 8s 3d per acre. The valuation was not tested on the open market and there was no independent review of the valuation. The owners considered the land and its timber were worth between £5 to £10 per acre, while the Crown land purchaser considered Ngāti Whare had
“a very exaggerated idea of the value” of the timber. The value attributed to the land by the Crown was the value at which purchases were made.
(55) Surveys undertaken in the 1990s revealed the 1915 valuation had considerably underestimated the amount of productive timber on the block and overstated the development costs of the land. There is no evidence that the Crown deliberately underestimated the volume of timber on the block, but it benefited from a poor valuation. Ngāti Whare owners later protested the low valuation given for the timber.
The Urewera Consolidation Scheme
(56) By 1919 the rate of sale of individual interests in the Reserve had decreased considerably. The Crown’s policy of acquiring individual interests in blocks throughout the Reserve had left both the Crown and Māori without clear title to any blocks and unable to develop the land they owned. Both faced expensive and extended court processes to partition out their respective interests. The Crown continued purchasing interests in the Te Whāiti block, but also began organising a scheme to consolidate interests throughout the Reserve to create economic units for Māori non-sellers and incoming settlers. It also aimed to set aside areas for soil conservation and scenic reserves.
(57) Under the scheme individual owners had their interest in blocks across the Reserve consolidated into what were expected to be whānau blocks in single locations. Because most Ngāti Whare non-sellers only had interests in the Te Whāiti series blocks, an attempt to shift them to blocks where they had no customary interests failed. Non-sellers in the Te Whāiti series blocks were eventually consolidated into 10 groups in subdivisions, as well as residue blocks.
(58) The Ngāti Whare and other non-sellers were awarded 14,466 acres of the original 71,340 acre block. This was later reduced to 10,840 acres to cover costs of survey and roads. The Urewera District Native Reserves Act 1896 had sought to avert such losses. The Crown was awarded almost all of the valuable timber land in the Te Whāiti block.
(59) In 1926 titles were awarded. Ngāti Whare were then able to utilise the resources on their remaining land. In 1928 they began selling timber cutting rights to commercial millers.
Te Whāiti 1930s and 1940s
(60) In 1928 the first sawmill opened at Te Whāiti. At this time the Crown had granted the Waiariki District Māori Land Board authority to grant cutting rights over Ngāti Whare owned lands. Neither the Board nor the sawmillers gained the consent of the Commissioner of Forests, whose written consent was required before cutting on Māori land took place. Ngāti Whare notified the Crown that the millers were cutting timber in a wasteful way. The Commissioner of Forests considered the owners had been treated unfairly and
“that this invalid contract should be terminated as soon as possible”. However, neither the Māori Land Court nor the Forest Service intervened to safeguard the interests of landowners. Consequently the amount of saleable timber on Māori owned land at Te Whāiti decreased rapidly in the first years of the Depression. The State Forest Service withheld its consent when another private company applied for cutting rights so the mill remained the only company allowed to mill at Te Whāiti.
(61) In 1935 Crown officers recommended that all felling in Te Urewera stop, except in the Whirinaki Valley in which the Te Whāiti block sat. The officers also suggested that Māori should be compensated adequately if they were prevented from logging their forests. In 1936 the Crown offered to purchase the Te Whāiti Residue No 2 block from Ngāti Whare to preserve the forest. Landowners expressed distrust because of past Crown actions and did not want to sell their lands.
(62) In 1938 landowners accepted a Crown offer to exchange the Te Whāiti Residue B block for nearby Crown land that was suitable for farming but which was lying idle. Māori landowners wanted to proceed immediately. For 15 years the Crown promised to exchange the Te Whāiti Residue B block and neighbouring Māori blocks with Crown land, but this never transpired. Ngāti Whare finally sold cutting rights on the Te Whāiti Residue B in 1954.
The Forest Service and the Establishment of Minginui
(63) In the 1930s the State Forest Service, concerned about the destructive practices employed by private sawmillers, decided to carry out its own logging using a system of selective logging to manage the forest on a sustained yield basis. The scheme began in 1938 in podocarp stands in the Whirinaki valley on the border of State Forest 58.
(64) The Forest Service established a model village at Minginui in 1948. By mid-1950, 69 houses had been built, and by 1980 there were a total of 94 houses at Minginui. Between 1951 and 1981 Minginui supported a population that fluctuated between 374 and 444 persons.
(65) The Forest Service contracted to supply timber to three privately-owned sawmills in 1946. The demand for timber continued after World War II and in 1950 the Forest Service completed a management plan. Endorsing the ongoing felling of podocarp timber, it aimed to retain the viability of forests and the communities that depended on them.
(66) The Forest Service administration of Minginui from the late 1940s to 1984 had a positive impact on Ngāti Whare’s social and health conditions, with improved social and health services, good employment, better housing, and new schools.
Te Whāiti-Nui-a-Toi Forest
(67) From the 1940s to the 1960s Ngāti Whare were keen to develop their remaining lands and sought to have them included in Crown operated development schemes for Māori owned land. Because of the small amount of land left in Ngāti Whare ownership and the prioritisation of areas where greater levels of Māori land was retained, the Crown did not begin assisting Ngāti Whare in this way until the 1970s.
(68) The Crown began drafting plans to develop Te Whāiti lands from 1971. By this time the Crown considered that Ngāti Whare’s remaining land would be more suited to forestry than pastoral farming. At this stage Ngāti Whare hoped to use exotic forestry to fund much needed repairs to their marae, promote tribal employment, protect their wāhi tapu, and gain an income from the land. For its part, the Crown wanted to utilise underdeveloped Māori land, make a profit from the trees, provide a return for the owners, and enhance the recreation and environmental value of the land.
(69) In January 1974, the Māori Land Court consolidated much of the remaining Ngāti Whare land in a new block, named Te Whāiti-Nui-a-Toi. The Court vested the 7,777 acre block in the Māori Trustee under section 438 of the Maori Affairs Act 1953. Out of this block, 4,983 acres were to be leased for forestry purposes. The remaining acres, unsuitable for forestry or farming due to their broken and steep nature, were to be used and managed or alienated at the discretion of the Māori Trustee.
(70) The Māori Trustee negotiated the forestry lease on behalf of the owners. Ngāti Whare needed revenue for their marae and could not wait until the trees were harvested 30 years later. Nor did they want to lose control over their lands for the usual period in forest leases of 99 years. Six of the beneficial owners were Advisory Trustees to the Māori Trustee, but they were not always kept informed of key developments.
(71) For most of the negotiations the draft lease included provisions for Ngāti Whare and the Crown to share profits from the harvest of the trees, while also providing some income for the owners in its early years. Without any explanation being made to the Advisory Trustees, profit sharing provisions were dropped from negotiations in August 1975. At that time New Zealand was facing rising and unprecedented inflation.
(72) The final 1976 lease was for 66 years, had no provision for profit sharing and paid the Ngāti Whare owners $8,100 per annum for the whole term of the lease adjusted annually by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The lease did not contain a rental review clause. It was the only CPI adjusted rental lease entered into between the Crown and Māori. In August 1989 the Māori Land Court ordered the transfer of the Te Whāiti-Nui-a-Toi lease from the Māori Trustee to beneficial owner Trustees, establishing the Te Whāiti-Nui-a-Toi Trust in the process.
(73) From 1994 the rapid acceleration of land values, relative to consumer prices, meant that the Te Whāiti-Nui-a-Toi owners’ return was significantly lower than that received by other forestry owners. As a result, the lease did not benefit the owners as much as anticipated. The Trustees were finally able to renegotiate an improved lease with the Crown in 2007.
The End of the Forest Service and the Handover of Minginui
(74) In 1984 the Whirinaki Conservation Park (commonly referred to as the Whirinaki Forest Park) was established and shortly thereafter the Crown stopped the felling of indigenous timber. From early 1985 the Forest Service was restructured, ultimately into three new organisations: the Ministry of Forestry, the New Zealand Forestry Corporation and the Department of Conservation. In 1987 most of the Whirinaki Conservation Park was transferred to the Department of Conservation to be preserved as an ecological reserve. The balance of the Park was allocated to ongoing commercial use under the Crown Forestry Licence regime set out in the Crown Forest Assets Act 1989.
(75) The New Zealand Forestry Corporation, established on 1 April 1987, did not wish to provide housing for their employees and support forestry communities such as Minginui. Minginui residents who had been employed by the Forest Service were no longer required. There were significant job losses as a result. Unemployment in Minginui was recorded at 51 percent in April 1987 and estimated at 95 percent in late 1988 after the last private mill closed. Many of those made redundant were Ngāti Whare.
(76) After four decades of relative prosperity, only a handful of Ngāti Whare were able to earn a living in their own rohe. Many left and those who chose to remain on their traditional lands became, and remain, largely dependent on benefits. This, and a dramatic decline in services, had a significant impact on Ngāti Whare and the community, including greater poverty and poorer health conditions.
(77) In 1987, the Crown and Ngāti Whare began discussions on the future of Minginui Village. Ngāti Whare wanted to regain ownership of their ancestral land. They also wanted to protect the houses in the village and to administer it as a papakainga. The Crown sought to support Māori living on their tribal lands and avoid the considerable social costs of relocating the community. Minginui’s infrastructure (roads, footpaths, sewerage system, stormwater, water supply, and street lighting) was below government standards. The Whakatane District Council was reluctant to take over administration of the village if these deficiencies were not addressed. The Crown was aware that the cost of bringing the town’s infrastructure up to standard was estimated at over a million dollars.
(78) In March 1988, the Te Whāiti-Nui-a-Toi Trust in conjunction with the Minginui Village Council sought to take over the running of the village. The Crown agreed. On 29 March 1989, the Māori Land Court vested Minginui in Wharepakau, the eponymous ancestor of Ngāti Whare. A new body—the Ngāti Whare Trust—was established to hold the land, with day to day operations being carried out by a subsidiary, Minginui Village Council Ltd.
(79) Minginui Village did not prosper after 1989. The Crown made a $100,000 contribution for the upgrading of infrastructure, but the Trust responsible for administering Minginui Village had few resources to meet infrastructure needs. Infrastructure problems identified in 1987 went largely unaddressed for twenty years. Ngāti Whare have sought for a number of years to engage with the Crown about the ongoing socio-economic and infrastructural needs of Minginui Village. The Crown and Ngāti Whare are currently working on resolving these issues.