Taranaki Iwi Claims Settlement Act 2016

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9 Acknowledgements

(1)

The Crown acknowledges that recognition of the historical grievances of Taranaki Iwi is long overdue. The Crown hereby recognises the legitimacy of the historical grievances of Taranaki Iwi and makes the following acknowledgements.

(2)

The Crown acknowledges that prior to 1860, Taranaki Iwi were participating successfully in the trading economy and retained control over the majority of their customary lands and resources while engaging with te ao hou (the new world).

(3)

The Crown acknowledges that—

(a)

the cumulative effect of the Crown’s actions in purchasing land in Taranaki created tensions that led to the outbreak of war between the Crown and Māori in 1860; and

(b)

Taranaki Iwi suffered the destruction of their homes, property, and cultivations as a result of Crown actions during the wars, which included the shelling of a number of coastal Taranaki Iwi kainga and the use of “scorched earth” tactics in the Taranaki Iwi rohe during the second Taranaki War; and

(c)

the Crown built military fortifications on Taranaki Iwi land; and

(d)

Taranaki Iwi suffered loss of life and severe hardship during the Taranaki wars; and

(e)

the Taranaki wars constituted an injustice and were in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles.

(4)

The Crown acknowledges that in 1866 it forced Taranaki Iwi rangatira including Wiremu Kingi Matakatea and Te Ua Haumene to swear oaths of allegiance to the Crown, and then detained Te Ua for 4 months in an attempt to undermine his mana and reduce the influence of the Paimārire movement.

(5)

The Crown acknowledges that—

(a)

Taranaki Iwi as a whole were not in rebellion, and the Crown unfairly treated them as being in rebellion when it proclaimed all of their land confiscated in 1865; and

(b)

the confiscations had a devastating effect on the mana, welfare, economy, culture, and social development of Taranaki Iwi; and

(c)

as a result of the confiscations, many Taranaki Iwi were displaced and deprived of access to their wāhi tapu and sites of ancestral significance, traditional sources of food, and other resources on that land; and

(d)

the confiscations were indiscriminate in extent and application, wrongful and unjust, and were in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles.

(6)

The Crown acknowledges that the prejudicial effects of the war and confiscations were compounded by the inadequacies in the compensation process, including—

(a)

the allocation of confiscated land to military settlers in the Taranaki Iwi rohe before the Compensation Court began its hearings; and

(b)

the Compensation Court making its awards to Taranaki Iwi individuals rather than to iwi or hapū, which was not consistent with customary land tenure. This system was imposed on Taranaki Iwi and their views were not sought; and

(c)

the failure to fulfil promises to return land to Taranaki Iwi for over 15 years.

(7)

The Crown acknowledges that—

(a)

its failure to return lands in a timely manner caused uncertainty and distress for Taranaki Iwi about where they were to live; and

(b)

it compounded this confusion by making takoha payments to Taranaki Māori which involved no proper investigation of Māori customary rights, and no clear definition of the land supposedly being secured.

(8)

The Crown acknowledges that—

(a)

the residents and leaders of Parihaka sought to establish and maintain an autonomous community on their own land, while promoting peaceful engagement between Taranaki Māori and Pākehā; and

(b)

it came to view the influence of Parihaka and its leaders as a challenge to the authority of the Crown, and its ability to extend European settlement in Taranaki.

(9)

The Crown acknowledges that—

(a)

it imprisoned members of Taranaki Iwi and other Māori of Taranaki for their participation in the peaceful resistance campaign initiated at Parihaka in 1879 and 1880; and

(b)

legislation was enacted which “suspended the ordinary course of law”, and as a result most prisoners, including many Taranaki Iwi people, were detained without trial; and

(c)

the detention of those prisoners without trial for an unreasonably lengthy period assumed the character of indefinite detention; and

(d)

the imprisonment of 405 men of Taranaki Iwi and other iwi in South Island gaols for political reasons inflicted unwarranted hardships on them and on members of their whānau and hapū, including the women who sustained Parihaka in their absence; and

(e)

the treatment of these political prisoners—

(i)

was wrongful, a breach of natural justice, and deprived them of basic human rights; and

(ii)

was a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles.

(10)

The Crown acknowledges that—

(a)

it inflicted serious damage on Parihaka and assaulted the human rights of the people residing there during its invasion and subsequent occupation of the settlement; and

(b)

it forcibly removed many inhabitants, destroyed and desecrated their homes and sacred buildings, stole heirlooms, and systematically destroyed large cultivations and livestock; and

(c)

it arrested and detained Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi without trial for 16 months in the South Island; and

(d)

it imposed a system of passes to regulate entry into Parihaka; and

(e)

its actions were a complete denial of the Māori right to develop and sustain autonomous communities in a peaceful manner, and had a devastating and enduring effect on the mana, social structure, and well-being of Taranaki Iwi; and

(f)

its treatment of Taranaki Iwi people at Parihaka was unconscionable and unjust, and that these actions constituted a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles.

(11)

The Crown acknowledges that—

(a)

the West Coast Commissions were inadequate in their scope and therefore did not fully address the injustices perpetrated by the confiscations; and

(b)

the reserves created for Taranaki Iwi by the second West Coast Commission in the 1880s were—

(i)

virtually all returned under non-customary individualised title; and

(ii)

in some cases smaller than those areas promised by the Crown to Taranaki Iwi in the 1860s; and

(c)

the Crown’s actions with respect to the West Coast Settlement Reserves, considered cumulatively, (including the imposition of a regime of perpetually renewable leases and the sale of large quantities of Taranaki Iwi land by the Public and Māori Trustee)—

(i)

ultimately deprived Taranaki Iwi of the control and ownership of the lands reserved for them in Taranaki; and

(ii)

contributed to the impoverishment of Taranaki Iwi; and

(iii)

were in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles.

(12)

The Crown recognises the efforts and struggles of Taranaki Iwi in pursuit of their claims for redress and compensation against the Crown for 140 years. The Crown further acknowledges that,—

(a)

despite numerous petitions and protests about the confiscations, it was not until 1926 that a commission (the Sim Commission) was established to investigate the confiscations; and

(b)

the Sim Commission could not consider the lawfulness of the confiscations or assess them in terms of the Treaty of Waitangi; and

(c)

the payments made under the Taranaki Maori Claims Settlement Act 1944 did not sufficiently address the grievances of Taranaki Iwi.

(13)

The Crown acknowledges that its efforts to deal with the grievances of Taranaki Iwi in the twentieth century failed to do so in an appropriate way.

(14)

The Crown acknowledges that the lands and other resources confiscated from Taranaki Iwi have made a significant contribution to the wealth and development of New Zealand.

(15)

The Crown acknowledges that its breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have together significantly undermined the traditional systems of authority and economic capacity of Taranaki Iwi, and the physical, cultural, and spiritual well-being of its people. The Crown acknowledges that it has failed to protect the rangatiratanga of Taranaki Iwi, in breach of its obligations under Article 2 of the Treaty of Waitangi.