On Saturday, after generations of mamae, we received our apology and signed our deed of settlement of historical Treaty of Waitangi claims at a ceremony at Raetihi Marae.

Te Korowai o Wainuiārua (TKOW) comprises three iwi: Tamahaki, Tamakana and Uenuku ki Manganui-o-te-Ao, nā Tūkaihoro.

Our area of interest covers approximately 613,000 hectares and includes the central Whanganui River, parts of the Tongariro and Whanganui National Parks and the townships of National Park, Ohakune, Pipiriki, Owhango and Raetihi.

The Settlement acknowledged breaches of te Tiriti o Waitangi relating to land confiscation and purchasing which led to virtual landlessness among our hapū and iwi and the consequential socio-economic harm to our people.

At the signing, Chairman of Te Korowai O Wainuiarua Trust, Aiden Gilbert, presented a gift to Treaty Negotiations Minister, Andrew Little, on our behalf.

This gift was a carved niho taniwha representative our three iwi. It wore a kete, inside the kete were some items which Mr Gilbert held up as he shared a story of gifts given by Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana who was the founder of the Rātana religion in the early 20th century to the Prime Minister of the day, Michael Joseph Savage.

“At the time there was a guy in charge of the country, his name was Savage, quite a fitting name,” Gilbert said.

“Rātana give four gifts to Savage, a taewa (potato) he said to Mr Savage, I give you this gift because we have no land to grow our spuds on, then he held up a feather, he said, I gift you this feather because we have no birds, their home has been cut and the trees are no more, and he had a hei tiki in his hand, made out of pounamu, I gift you this, because we have no mana, and the last thing he had was a broken watch, he gifted the broken watch to Mr Savage and said, now it’s time to get back land.”

Mr Gilbert said that Saturday was about acknowledging who the people of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua are and their manawhenua.

“ We stand here, on our whenua and can finally look forward to the future, one of cultural prosperity for our people,” he said

Chairman Aiden Gilbert with Treaty Negotiations Minister, Andrew Little, at the signing of Te Tihi O Te Rae.

Treaty Minister Andrew Little made an apology to our people on behalf of the Crown.

“You were among the first to submit claims to the Waitangi tribunal 35 years ago in the 1980s and you have waited a long time for this day,” Little said.

“Your historical account is a painful story of conflict and loss… it’s important the Crown acknowledges this history, the grievances and injustices and takes responsibility for its role in the harm it’s caused to Te Korowai o Wainuiārua. Today I came to make that apology.”

Minister Little recognised the settlement process is seldom ever easy, stating that as a Crown process, it often leaves iwi feeling like some of their issues are unresolved, which he recognised was the situation with our settlement.

“I’m mindful that there is more Korero to be had.”

Minister Little recognised the settlement process is seldom ever easy for iwi, and was a Crown process.

He acknowledged that although every iwi is entitled to look to the Crown to conduct itself properly and respectfully, this has not always been the case.

Departing from his notes, Minister Little spoke about the Crowns recent discussions with iwi regarding the ski fields, and how the Crown made commitments about relationships and engagement because that is the foundation for the future, but still struggles to get it right.

He said that the Crown was committed to strengthening relationships with iwi through good engagement and communication, and the people of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua were entitled to expect nothing less.

Minister Little acknowledged Crown actions were responsible for:

  • The outbreak of war and deaths of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua Tupuna.
  • The stigma of being labelled rebels, and the painful divisions between them and the iwi of Whanganui
  • land loss through confiscation and purchasing which led to virtual landlessness among the hapū and iwi of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua.
  • The Crown took the land for public works, including defense, electricity generation, and railways, in the process of desecrating an Urupa, a burial ground of their people.
  • the creation of Tongariro National Park without recognition of TKOW manawhenua.
  • socio-economic harm

Minister Little delivered the Crown Apology, which acknowledged that since the creation of the National Parks, we’ve not had a role in the management of our sacred taonga, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, but that the Crown hopes to restore its honour and seeks to build a new relationship based on respect and trust and the principles of the Treaty.

The Crown apologised for the way its actions had undermined the well-being of the people of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua, leaving our people virtually landless, and struggling from dire socio-economic consequences, and that our ability to retain te reo Māori , Tikanga and iwi identity has been severely weakened.

Our redress package includes:

  •  $21.7 million in financial and commercial redress
  • $6.8 million in cultural funding
  • The return of 19 sites of cultural significance and 12 commercial properties, including – Crown forestry land at Erua, and the former prison site at Waikune
  • Conservation management redress to support the establishment of a predator-proofed ecosanctuary at Pōkākā, and a seat on the Tongariro-Taupō Conservation Board
  • Relationship agreements with a range of Crown agencies


Click the link below for more information on the Deed of Settlement. 

Deed of Settlement Summary 

Comments (2)

  1. Marion Matenga


    Matua tama Wairua Tapu me nga Anahera pono me te Mangai, manaakihia mai enei tangata me tenei whenua mau e te mangai hei tautoko mai aianei ake nei ae xox
    E rere kau mai i te awa nui nei, mai i te kahui maunga ki tangaroa, ko au te awa ko te awa ko au
    Ko Ruapehu te Maunga
    Ko Wanganui te awa
    Ko Atihanuiapaparangi te iwi
    Ko Uenuku te hapu
    Ko Te puke te marae
    Ko Marion Matenga toku ingoa
    He mihi tenei kia ratou kua wehe atu ki te po
    No reira tena koutou katoa

    I would like to say that the day of the settlement was a day of mixed emotions and mixed feelings. It was extremely pouri for a lot of whanau including myself, especially knowing what our tupuna endured pre-colonization and after the signing of the Tiriti O Waitangi. I believe there’s no amount of putea that can replace what was taken from our tupuna but, hearing that formal apology from Andrew Little gave me some sort of hope that this is a new beginning for our people to start their Hikoi of healing and breaking the cycle of intergenerational trauma. I pray and hope that our government will walk their talk and not just one man. Only time will tell, until then Kia kaha whanau and I truly pray that the putea will get used wisely to assist the people of Wainuiarua in better opportunities to health, education, housing, Taio and awhi our kaumatua and rangatahi.

    Whakakingia nga wharuarua, a ratou ma kua whiti atu ki tua o te pae o maumahara

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