General policy statement
The Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Bill gives effect to the Whanganui River Deed of Settlement (Ruruku Whakatupua) signed on 5 August 2014, which settles the historical claims of Whanganui Iwi as they relate to the Whanganui River (the River). Ruruku Whakatupua sets out in full the redress provided to Whanganui Iwi in settlement of those historical claims. This Bill includes elements for which legislation is necessary and some provisions that Whanganui Iwi have specifically requested be included in the legislation as well as in Ruruku Whakatupua. Other aspects of the settlement are provided for only in Ruruku Whakatupua. In settling these claims, the Crown acknowledges past wrongs, intends to put in place the foundation for a constructive future relationship with Whanganui Iwi, and establishes Te Pā Auroa nā Te Awa Tupua (Te Pā Auroa) as a legal framework for the Whanganui River that is centred on the legal recognition of the Whanganui River as Te Awa Tupua.
Scope of settlement
The Whanganui River is New Zealand’s longest navigable river, stretching from the slopes of Mount Tongariro to the Tasman Sea. The Whanganui River is central to the existence of Whanganui Iwi and their health and well-being. The River has provided both physical and spiritual sustenance to Whanganui Iwi and the hapū of Whanganui Iwi from time immemorial. Other iwi and hapū also have interests in parts of the River and its tributaries.
The historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Whanganui Iwi, as they relate to the River, primarily concern Crown actions and omissions in gaining control of the River. These include the enactment of legislation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the removal of traditional structures and minerals from the River, and the diversion of the headwaters of the River for hydroelectric purposes.
Through this settlement, the Crown acknowledges that Te Awa Tupua is an indivisible and living whole comprising the Whanganui River from the mountains to the sea, incorporating its tributaries and all its physical and metaphysical elements.
History of claim
Ruruku Whakatupua is the culmination of over a century of effort by Whanganui Iwi to protect and provide for the special relationship of Whanganui Iwi with the River. Ruruku Whakatupua settles the historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Whanganui Iwi in relation to the River. Since 1873, Whanganui Iwi have long sought recognition of their authority over the River, including by pursuing one of New Zealand’s longest-running court cases. The Whanganui River claim (Wai 167) was pursued separately from the lands claim by Whanganui Iwi and was the subject of a separate Waitangi Tribunal report in 1999.
For this settlement, Whanganui Iwi have been represented in negotiations by the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board, which was empowered by statute to negotiate the settlement of the claims of Whanganui Iwi relating to the Whanganui River. On 13 October 2011, Whanganui Iwi and the Crown signed a record of understanding that provided a framework for the settlement negotiations in relation to the Whanganui River claims of Whanganui Iwi. On 30 August 2012, Whanganui Iwi and the Crown signed an agreement, Tūtohu Whakatupua, that recorded the key elements of the agreed Te Awa Tupua framework for the Whanganui River. Ruruku Whakatupua was initialled on 26 March 2014. It was then ratified by Whanganui Iwi members and signed on 5 August 2014. It will be implemented following the passage of the settlement legislation.
Summary of settlement
Ruruku Whakatupua provides for the full and final settlement of all historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Whanganui Iwi in relation to the River that arise from Crown acts or omissions before 21 September 1992.
Ruruku Whakatupua has the following 2 parts:
Ruruku Whakatupua—Te Mana o Te Awa Tupua; and
Ruruku Whakatupua—Te Mana o Te Iwi o Whanganui.
Te Mana o Te Awa Tupua
Ruruku Whakatupua—Te Mana o Te Awa Tupua is primarily directed towards the establishment of Te Pā Auroa, a new legal framework, which is centred on the legal recognition of Te Awa Tupua, comprising the River from the mountains to the sea, its tributaries, and all its physical and metaphysical elements, as an indivisible and living whole.
Te Pā Auroa comprises the following 7 principal elements:
legal recognition of the Whanganui River as Te Awa Tupua and of Te Awa Tupua as a legal person (together, the Status); and
Tupua te Kawa (Te Awa Tupua Values); and
Te Pou Tupua, consisting of 2 persons, one appointed by the Crown and the other by iwi with interests in the Whanganui River, to a guardianship role to act on behalf of Te Awa Tupua; and
Te Heke Ngahuru ki Te Awa Tupua, the River strategy; and
Te Kōpuka nā Te Awa Tupua, the River Strategy Group responsible for developing the River strategy; and
vesting of the Crown-owned parts of the bed of the Whanganui River in Te Awa Tupua; and
Te Korotete o Te Awa Tupua, the Te Awa Tupua Fund. a $30 million contestable fund, the Te Awa Tupua fund.
The settlement provides that Te Pā Auroa is a relevant consideration for any person making statutory decisions relating to the Whanganui River or activities in the catchment affecting the River. Te Pā Auroa also contains legal weighting provisions that specify how decision makers will be required to
“recognise and provide for” the Status and Values and
“have particular regard to” the River Strategy when exercising and performing functions, powers, and duties under legislation listed in the Bill.
Other Te Awa Tupua arrangements
In addition to the key elements of Te Pā Auroa outlined above, it also provides for—
the protection of the name Te Awa Tupua against unauthorised commercial exploitation; and
establishment of the Te Awa Tupua register, maintained by Te Pou Tupua, of hearing commissioners who may be nominated for the register by Whanganui Iwi. Local authorities must consult the register when considering appointments to hear certain resource consent applications relating to the Whanganui River; and
a collaborative process to identify how to improve the regulation of activities on the surface of the River, involving iwi with interests in the Whanganui River, Maritime New Zealand, and central and local government; and
establishment of a fisheries co-ordination group (involving iwi with interests in the Whanganui River, the New Zealand Fish and Game Council, and central and local government) to advance the protection, management, and sustainable use of freshwater fisheries in the catchment; and
a collaborative process to explore the development of a regulatory mechanism to provide for customary food gathering, involving iwi with interests in the Whanganui River and the Ministry for Primary Industries; and
interim custodian arrangements instead of those that apply under section 11 of the Protected Objects Act 1975, giving Te Awa Tupua interim custody of taonga tūturu found in the Whanganui River.
To support Te Pā Auroa, the Crown will pay—
$30 million to Te Awa Tupua for the establishment of Te Korotete o Te Awa Tupua, the Te Awa Tupua Fund; and
$200,000 per year for 20 years as a contribution to the costs associated with the exercise of its functions by Te Pou Tupua; and
$430,000 to the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council for the development of the River Strategy.
Te Mana o Te Iwi o Whanganui
Ruruku Whakatupua—Te Mana o Te Iwi o Whanganui is primarily directed towards Whanganui Iwi and the recognition and further development of the relationship between Whanganui Iwi and the Whanganui River through both cultural and financial redress. Cultural redress includes—
the Crown’s acknowledgements and apology; and
Te Pākurukuru: Whanganui Iwi—Crown relationship Agreement; and
statutory recognition to recognise and provide for the mana and relationship of Whanganui Iwi in respect of Te Awa Tupua; and
authority for Whanganui Iwi to carry out certain authorised customary activities; and
Crown recognition of the significance of ripo (rapids) to the relationship of each hapū of Whanganui Iwi with the River and to the relationship of Whanganui Iwi collectively with the River; and
the assignment of official geographic names to certain places; and
agreement to progress a social services project with relevant agencies.
This settlement includes the payment of financial redress to Whanganui Iwi in recognition of the settlement of their claims and to help them advance the future health and well-being of both the Whanganui River and its people. Whanganui Iwi will receive financial redress comprising—
a financial redress payment of $80 million; and
an additional payment of $1 million for transitional and implementation matters relating to the establishment of Te Pā Auroa.