Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: The Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti
  • This version was republished on 21 November 2022 to correct a typographical error in section 5(5). That error has also been corrected in all previous versions.
6 Text in English

The text of the apology in English is as follows:


The Crown recognises the protracted labours of the Ngāi Tahu ancestors in pursuit of their claims for redress and compensation against the Crown for nearly 150 years, as alluded to in the Ngāi Tahu proverb “He mahi kai tākata, he mahi kai hoaka” (“It is work that consumes people, as greenstone consumes sandstone”). The Ngāi Tahu understanding of the Crown’s responsibilities conveyed to Queen Victoria by Matiaha Tiramōrehu in a petition in 1857, guided the Ngāi Tahu ancestors. Tiramōrehu wrote:

‘This was the command thy love laid upon these Governors… that the law be made one, that the commandments be made one, that the nation be made one, that the white skin be made just equal with the dark skin, and to lay down the love of thy graciousness to the Māori that they dwell happily… and remember the power of thy name.’

The Crown hereby acknowledges the work of the Ngāi Tahu ancestors and makes this apology to them and to their descendants.


The Crown acknowledges that it acted unconscionably and in repeated breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in its dealings with Ngāi Tahu in the purchases of Ngāi Tahu land. The Crown further acknowledges that in relation to the deeds of purchase it has failed in most material respects to honour its obligations to Ngāi Tahu as its Treaty partner, while it also failed to set aside adequate lands for Ngāi Tahu’s use, and to provide adequate economic and social resources for Ngāi Tahu.


The Crown acknowledges that, in breach of Article Two of the Treaty, it failed to preserve and protect Ngāi Tahu’s use and ownership of such of their land and valued possessions as they wished to retain.


The Crown recognises that it has failed to act towards Ngāi Tahu reasonably and with the utmost good faith in a manner consistent with the honour of the Crown. That failure is referred to in the Ngāi Tahu saying “Te Hapa o Niu Tireni!” (“The unfulfilled promise of New Zealand”). The Crown further recognises that its failure always to act in good faith deprived Ngāi Tahu of the opportunity to develop and kept the tribe for several generations in a state of poverty, a state referred to in the proverb “Te mate o te iwi” (“The malaise of the tribe”).


The Crown recognises that Ngāi Tahu has been consistently loyal to the Crown, and that the tribe has honoured its obligations and responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi and duties as citizens of the nation, especially, but not exclusively, in their active service in all of the major conflicts up to the present time to which New Zealand has sent troops. The Crown pays tribute to Ngāi Tahu’s loyalty and to the contribution made by the tribe to the nation.


The Crown expresses its profound regret and apologises unreservedly to all members of Ngāi Tahu Whānui for the suffering and hardship caused to Ngāi Tahu, and for the harmful effects which resulted to the welfare, economy and development of Ngāi Tahu as a tribe. The Crown acknowledges that such suffering, hardship and harmful effects resulted from its failures to honour its obligations to Ngāi Tahu under the deeds of purchase whereby it acquired Ngāi Tahu lands, to set aside adequate lands for the tribe’s use, to allow reasonable access to traditional sources of food, to protect Ngāi Tahu’s rights to pounamu and such other valued possessions as the tribe wished to retain, or to remedy effectually Ngāi Tahu’s grievances.


The Crown apologises to Ngāi Tahu for its past failures to acknowledge Ngāi Tahu rangatiratanga and mana over the South Island lands within its boundaries, and, in fulfilment of its Treaty obligations, the Crown recognises Ngāi Tahu as the tāngata whenua of, and as holding rangatiratanga within, the Takiwā of Ngāi Tahu Whānui.


Accordingly, the Crown seeks on behalf of all New Zealanders to atone for these acknowledged injustices, so far as that is now possible, and, with the historical grievances finally settled as to matters set out in the Deed of Settlement signed on 21 November 1997, to begin the process of healing and to enter a new age of co-operation with Ngāi Tahu.