In 1840 rangatira of three Central North Island tribes Tamakana, Tamahaki and Uenuku first signed te Tiriti o Waitangi, on Monday descendants of these mighty chiefs initialled their Deed of Settlement: Te Tihi o te Rae.
Te Korowai o Wainuiārua chair Aiden Gilbert said the initialling signals a new start for the iwi and an exciting opportunity to finally, following extensive delays caused by the Covid pandemic, move forward into the process of whānau ratification and endorsement.
“Today was highly significant, many whānau started this journey and today, we stand as the ones left to finish the mahi our old people started 180 years ago.”
“Over this time there has been the continual occupation of our ancestral lands, attacks and war against our whānau and we had been totally ostracised by Government through the labelling of our people as Hauhau rebels.
“Now, by initialling Te Tihi o te Rae we have finally reached a time where our three tribes have been formally and officially re-recognised and acknowledged.
“We have always been a part of our community but today, we are now again able to stand and be visible again on our lands which, has been the one of the biggest causes of mamae for our people.”
One of the rare things about this settlement is three tribes have been clustered together which, at times Mr Gilbert said has made it difficult in adhering to everyone’s mamae and their unique issues with the Crown,” Mr Gilbert said.
“This has been a challenge for the negotiations team in terms of satisfying everyone who has claims and this package is never going to appease or, please all our whānau.
“If we look at the statistics, it is only around 3-percent of what is really owing to us.
“If Settlement is about justice, this is not justice however, it’s a positive start that now gives the descendants of Tamakana, Tamahaki and Uenuku a newfound respect and most importantly formal recognition by the Crown so we can now begin to take our next steps together in developing a meaningful partnership.”
Along with an apology from the Crown and financial and commercial redress, cultural redress includes a total of 19 sites of cultural significance will be vested across the vast rohe of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua ranging from Whangamomona and Retaruke in the north traversing through Waimarino-National Park and Raetihi down the Whanganui River, Pipiriki and Ōhoutahi.
Overlay classifications are also included at Pōkākā which included part Erua Scenic Reserve, the Mākātote Scenic Reserve parcels west of State Highway, Manganui-a-te-Ao Scenic Reserve, and Pōkākā Scenic Reserve to help further the aspirations of Iwi to develop an ecosanctuary.
“I want to acknowledge all those who have passed on and haven’t been here to see this day,” Mr Gilbert said.
“It has been a privilege, an honour to be a part of this and finally be able to start to see an end this journey started so long ago.
“Our journey hasn’t ended, it will never end, our tamariki and mokopuna will continue to the legacy left to us by our tūpuna.”
Te Tihi o te Rae will be available to view online via uenuku.iwi.nz in the coming week.
For additional kōrero please contact Te Korowai o Wainuiārua chair Aiden Gilbert 027 554 9628
Jim Edmonds, Uenuku Chair Aiden Gilbert and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little