Ngāti Rangiwewehi Claims Settlement Bill

  • enacted
96 Summary of historical account
  • (1) Ngāti Rangiwewehi did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi, but from the 1840s they embraced new economic opportunities made possible by European settlement and sought to work with the Crown in the administration of their district. In the 1850s, the Ngāti Rangiwewehi leader Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikaheke gave manuscripts he had written to Governor George Grey. These writings made a significant contribution to the influential books Grey later wrote on Māori culture, but Grey's publications make no acknowledgement of the contribution of Te Rangikaheke.

    (2) As the Kīngitanga movement developed in the late 1850s, some Ngāti Rangiwewehi chose to align with the Māori King. When the Crown sent troops to Tauranga in 1864, members of Ngāti Rangiwewehi went to Tauranga to assist their traditional allies. In April 1864, they were among the warriors who inflicted a heavy defeat on the British troops at Gate Pā. In June 1864, Crown forces defeated Kīngitanga Māori at Te Ranga, killing 17 Ngāti Rangiwewehi individuals.

    (3) The Crown regarded Māori who fought at Gate Pā and Te Ranga as rebels. Between 1865 and 1868, the Crown confiscated 290 000 acres of land around Tauranga, including land in which Ngāti Rangiwewehi had interests. The Crown announced it would retain 50 000 acres and the remainder would be returned to Māori. However, all customary interests in the returned lands were compulsorily extinguished.

    (4) Kereopa Te Rau was a member of Ngāti Rangiwewehi. In 1864, during the Waikato war, his wife and daughter were killed by Crown forces. In the Eastern Bay of Plenty, in 1865, a group of Māori killed a missionary who had previously sent the Crown a plan of the pā where Kereopa's whānau were killed. In 1871, Kereopa was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death. Ngāti Rangiwewehi maintains that Kereopa did not receive a fair trial and was wrongfully executed.

    (5) In the 1860s, the Crown introduced native land laws, which established the Native Land Court and tasked it with converting customary title into title derived from the Crown. Customary tenure generally accommodated multiple interests, but the new land laws gave rights to individuals. Ngāti Rangiwewehi had no alternative but to use the court if they wished to secure legal title to their lands and participate in the new economy. In the 1870s, Ngāti Rangiwewehi leaders criticised the native land laws and called, without success, for tribal control of land and resources.

    (6) In 1880, Ngāti Rangiwewehi rangatira were among the Māori signatories to an agreement made with the Crown to establish a township at Rotorua. Ngāti Rangiwewehi reasonably expected they would benefit from this agreement after a committee of local chiefs concluded they had interests in the township block. However, these expectations were not met as the Native Land Court did not award Ngāti Rangiwewehi any interests in this block.

    (7) Between 1887 and 1908, the Crown acquired approximately 65% of the land awarded to Ngāti Rangiwewehi by the Native Land Court. This land included some of the most valuable and prized parts of the Ngāti Rangiwewehi rohe. In the 1890s, the Crown purchased individualised shares in the Mangorewa Kaharoa block in the core Ngāti Rangiwewehi rohe before the block had been partitioned and the specific holdings of hapū and whānau had been defined. In 1896, the Crown applied to have its interests in the block defined and was awarded roughly a third of the block, including the most valuable land in the block and freshwater springs near Hamurana, which are taonga for Ngāti Rangiwewehi.

    (8) In 1966, a piece of land at Taniwha Springs was compulsorily acquired from Ngāti Rangiwewehi by a local authority for waterworks purposes. The block contains springs that are central to Ngāti Rangiwewehi traditions and identity as an iwi. A pump station was built over the springs, where it remains today. The local authority had previously sought an alternative source of water from the Crown, but the Crown refused to make it available. Ngāti Rangiwewehi have mourned the loss of their taonga since its taking.