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HomeAus & NZTears of joy, sadness, over 'groundbreaking' Waitangi Tribunal report

Tears of joy, sadness, over ‘groundbreaking’ Waitangi Tribunal report

'Quick read' news summary

The Waitangi Tribunal has reported back about one of the largest Treaty claims ever heard – a document described as “groundbreaking”, and “defining” for Māori in Te Tai Tokerau.

Some of the evidence at Te Paparahi o Te Raki hearings was presented more than a decade ago and the report was more than 1800 pages long.

It said the Crown repeatedly overstepped its authority to govern, leading to a widespread erosion of rangatiratanga as well as warfare and extensive loss of land.

It also said William Hobson’s proclamations of sovereignty and the Constitution Act were some of the most severe Treaty breaches.

The Tribunal also recommended the Crown return all Crown-owned land in the district to Māori and provide economic compensation.

There are now significant implications for Ngāpuhi’s ongoing Treaty settlement negotiations with the Crown.

Ngāpuhi elder Hone Sadler told RNZ some kaumātua put their lives on hold collecting and presenting evidence to the Tribunal, and many did not live to see this day.

“I’m shedding tears of joy but also of sadness for my people, who gave their all to try and get a fair settlement for Ngāpuhi. That was what the process was supposed to bring – a fair and equitable result.”

Sadler is one of many who said the report’s findings significantly strengthen the iwi’s claim.

He was pleased the Tribunal rejected the Crown’s version of history presented at the hearings.

“The Crown was quite scathing in its determination that none of this occurred. And its evidence, that it brought to substantiate its stance, wasn’t sufficient.”

The report said the breaches caused “severe and lasting prejudice” for northern iwi.

Te Rūnanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi chair Wane Wharerau (Ngāpuhi) said this had caused extreme deprivation.

“Whether that be via health, employment, imprisonment – it extends right throughout the whole realm of our lives. So with it, that prejudice has indeed,

The Waitangi Tribunal has reported back about one of the largest Treaty claims ever heard - a document described as "groundbreaking", and "defining" for Māori in Te Tai Tokerau. Some of the evidence at Te Paparahi o Te Raki hearings was presented more than a decade ago and the report was more than 1800 pages long. The Tribunal also recommended the Crown return all Crown-owned land in the district to Māori and provide economic compensation.

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