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HISTORY OF THE CLAIMS

The original Waitangi Tribunal claim covered issues relating to nga iwi o Taranaki in our various rohe – specifically and particularly Taranaki and Wellington regions. In terms of Wellington and environs identified areas of Treaty breaches included (but were not limited to) the harbour, Hutt Valley, Wainuiomata, orginal Waiwhetu kainga on the eastern side of the Hutt River, and the Māori Reserved Lands) was filed by Sir Makere Rangiatea Ralph Love and Dr Ralph Heberley Ngatata Love in 1987. This claim (Wai54, later renamed ‘Wai145 – the Wellington Tenths claim’ by the Tribunal) became the umbrella claim within which other later claims relating to the Wellington region were heard. The claims research and hearings process continued until 1999. The Wellington Tenths Trust led the claims but did not receive government funding for their 12 year battle, the further 4 years of discussions and hui leading to the production of the Tribunal Report. The owners in the Wellington Tenths Trust and its sister Trust, the Palmerston North Māori Reserve Land Trust were asked every year if they would forgo their income as land owners in order to fund the Treaty Claim. Every year the members of the Wellington Tenths Trust and Palmerston North Māori Reserve Land Trust agreed to do so – in effect funding the claims out of their own pockets.

 

The Waitangi Tribunal Report on Wellington ‘Te Whanganui A Tara me ona Takiwa’ was finally released on May 17 2003 to an estimated 1000 members of Taranaki Whanui at Pipitea Marae. 

 

Following the release of the report, claimants put together a Negotiation Team led by Dr Ngatata Love. A number of Mandating hui were held around New Zealand, with the Wellington Tenths Trust and Palmerston North Māori Reserve Land Trust again funding the mandating process. A final vote of Taranaki Whanui members overwhelming endorsed the proposed Negotiation Team and provided a mandate to proceed with negotiations for settlement of the claims.

 

Formal negotiations and discussions with the Crown continued for another 5 years. In December 2007, 20 years after the claim was first filed, an Agreement in Principle for settlement of the Taranaki Whanui claims to Wellington was signed. In 2008 members of Taranaki Whanui voted to form the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust to accept and manage the Treaty settlement.  In 2009 the Port Nicholson Block Deed of Settlement was passed into law.  Settlement redress and rights were transferred to the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust.

1985    |    Waitangi Tribunal empowered to hear historical claims

For almost 150 years members of nga iwi o Taranaki (Taranaki Whanui) had pursued justice in regards to their land claims and mistreatment, through letters, submissions and petitions to the New Zealand Government and British Crown representatives. The 1985 extension of the mandate of the Waitangi Tribunal to hear historical Treaty claims provided a new and more public forum for nga iwi o Taranaki to present case, provide evidence and have their stories recorded. Engaging in the Waitangi Tribunal process had several benefits for iwi. The Tribunal process:

  • brought iwi together to share and present their grievances and claims

  • ensured that the evidence and stories of those affected would be on the public record

  • provided a forum where evidence could be tested and facts verified and recorded

  • ensured the stories of those participating in the claim process and those who had gone before would not be lost but would be available to their whānau, hapū, iwi and descendants

  • provided for evidence presented to the Waitangi Tribunal and the findings of the Tribunal to be used in future negotiations with the Crown (New Zealand Government) for a Treaty Settlement

 

1987    |    Wai 54 claim lodged

Lodged by Sir Makere Rangiatea Ralph Love and Ralph Heberley Ngatata Love. The statement of claim records that WaiTri Claim 54 was lodged “on behalf of the beneficiaries of the Taranaki Maori Trust Board, the Wellington Tenths Trust, and the Palmerston North Reserves Trust, together with Nga Iwi o Taranaki.”[i]

 

[i] Waitangi Tribunal Report. Te Whanganui A Tara me ona Takiwa. 2003; p1

 

1990    |    Tribunal splits Wai54, creating Wai 145

After a judicial conference with the Crown and claimants, the Waitangi Tribunal ordered that Wai54 be split, with Wellington issues to be considered separately. This part of the Wai54 claim was renamed Wai 145. The original Statement of Claim for Wai54 remained in place however. The focus of hearings on Wai145 was the wider Wellington region, extending to Treaty breaches 1840. The claim included the Lowry Block (Wainuiomata) land takings, the destruction of the orginal Waiwhetu site on the eastern side of the Hutt River, the dispossession and ethnic cleansing that occurred around the harbour, the forced relocation of tupuna from their papkainga and the Harbour, including the islands within it.

 

1995    |    Tribunal aggregates Wellington claims

The Waitangi Tribunal directed that later claims relating to the Wellington region (including the Hutt Valley and Wainuiomata) should be joined to the overarching Wai145 (formerly Wai 54), and named these the Wai 145 Wellington Tenths claim. “In October 1995 the Tribunal directed that a number of specified claims should be ‘aggregated for the purposes of inquiry, under the appellation Wai 145 The Wellington Tenths Claim”.[i]  So, from 1995 claims filed after the original Wai54 claim became included in hearings relating to the Wellington Tenths part of that claim (Wai145). Therefore relevant claims filed before and after Wai54/Wai145 were heard and considered within the umbrella of the Wai145 claim. These included:

 

[i] Waitangi Tribunal Report. Te Whanganui A Tara me ona Takiwa. 2003; p4

 

1995 Tribunal direction aggregated the following claims with Wai 145:

CLAIM      CLAIMANT


Wai 105            Ihakara Porutu Puketapu and others
Wai 175             Piri Te Tau and others for Rangitane o Wairarapa
Wai 183            Eruera Te Whiti Nia
Wai 207           Akuhata Wineera and others for Ngati Toa Rangatira
Wai 366           Roger Herbert for Ngati Rangatahi
Wai 377            Davis Churton for Ngati Tama Te Kaeaea Trust
Wai 415            Tata Parata and others
Wai 442           Mark Te One and others
Wai 474            Michelle Marino for Ngati Tama and descendants of Te Kaeaea (Taringa Trust)
Wai 543            Ruth Harris for Rangitane ki Manawatu

2007    |    Wai105 – The Hutt Section 19 / Waiwhetu Claim

Hutt Section 19 (often referred to as the ‘Waiwhetu’ block was granted to Wellington Māori as a native reserve (known as a ‘McCleverty Resrve’) by Colonel McCleverty in 1847.  As the destruction of Māori pa, kainga, cultivations, tauranga waka, pollution of streams and harbour increased together with the granting of our lands to Pakeha settlers increased, some of our tupuna faced dispossession, homelessness and starvation. The few reserves that had been granted to our tupuna as they were pushed out of the growing settlement of Wellington were on lands unsuitable for cultivation and distant from traditional kainga and mahinga kai.  After a number of the new settlers complained about the appearance of starving and destitute Māori in the new township, Governor Grey ordered that at least one reserve containing cultivatable land be created. McCleverty’s inclusion of Hutt Section 19 served this purpose. The ethnic cleansing of the township of Wellington was aided by the re-location of Māori from their former kainga around Wellington and the harbour to Hutt Section 19. In 1941, after some years of Crown and Local Government planning the taking of Māori owned land for a proposed state housing development, a contingent of Hutt Section 19 landowners, led by major owner Wi Hapi Pakau (Hapi) Love met with the Deputy Director of Native Affairs. The meeting was recorded (minuted) including the following:  deep-seated objections to the scheme.  For example, Hapi Love

 

Pointed out that the Waiwhetu land had always been looked upon as a reserve for the Maoris and was practically the last land in the Hutt Valley remaining to them. He made a plea that the Government would not deal too harshly with his people.

In response the Government in 1942 increased the scope of Hutt Section 19 land subject to the Public Works taking, and swiftly took the subdivisions (7A and 7B) owned by Wi Hapi Pakau and others for non-housing purposes.

Subdivisions 7A and 7B of section 19 were taken on 13 July 1942 for public works and were used as a vehicle park for American troops, and as with the section 58 lands, were not proclaimed as housing lands until 1945. The land was not used for housing and today subdivisions 7A and 7B, comprising approximately 27 acres, form the bulk of Te Whiti Park.  The Treaty breach, along with the failure to protect the land in the first place, was the failure to return the land when it was not used for the intended public work.

The Waiwhetu marae precinct including Arohanui ki te Tangata meeting house, adjacent to Te Whiti Park (Hutt section 19’s 7A and 7B subdivisions) was opened in 1960. The marae was funded primarily by the government of the day, with contributions from local iwi fundraising and Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce (business) donations. It is a focal point for those living around Waiwhetu and hosts various Crown, local government and DHB events.

 

Ihakara Puketapu is the first named claimant in Waitangi Tribunal claim Wai105. Wai 105 is concerned only with the 1942 and 1943 taking of Māori owned land on Hutt Section 19 by the Crown for the purposes of state house construction. Wai105 did not claim for historical matters before the 1942 public works takings within Hutt Section 19. Wai105 was not tested before the Waitangi Tribunal as the principal claimant elected to proceed to direct negotiations with the Crown instead.

 

Two rounds of negotiations were held with the Crown. The initial negotiations involved the principal claimant as sole negotiator. These negotiations stopped after a sizeable contingent of descendants of the subdivision owners of Hutt Section 19, pointed out that the claimant did not have a mandate to negotiate settlement on their behalf.  The Hutt Section 19 working party was then formed from a hui facilitated by Ngatata Love at Waiwhetu marae. The Hutt Section 19 Working Party comprised of the descendants of original owners of the various subdivisions within Hutt Section 19. The Working Party received a mandate from descendants of the Hutt Section 19 owners to proceed to negotiations. Palmerston North Māori Reserve Lands Trust contributed $15,000 to fund research including the collection of oral histories of Hutt Section 19 whanau. In the end the Hutt Section 19 Working Party negotiators could not reach a satisfactory settlement package with the Crown. The settlement process for this claim was put aside by the Crown, and the Waiwhetu Working Party went into recess.

 

Although the Hutt Section 19 claimants and Working Party had not been through the Tribunal hearing process, they eventually joined the Port Nicholson Block Negotiation Team in the negotiations for the settlement of the Wellington claims. The Port Nicholson Block Negotiation Team arranged for representatives of the Hutt Section 19 Working Party to meet directly with the Minister and senior Office of Treaty Settlement officials to put their case regarding Hutt Section 19 as part of the overall Treaty Settlement.