Ngati Whatua settlement a watershed

Labour is hailing the passing of the Ngati Whatua Orakei Settlement Bill as a watershed moment for Auckland.

The Bill acknowledges Treaty breaches that left Ngati Whatua virtually landless, delivers an apology from the Government, and a financial settlement of $18 million.

“This settlement at last addresses Ngati Whatua’s historic grievances in a comprehensive way.  It sets a platform for Maori, Pakeha and the new Auckland to move forward together,” Labour’s Treaty Negotiations spokesperson Parekura Horomia said.

“Strong Maori leadership can help unleash the creativity and talents of the young generation of Maori and Pasifika who are such an important demographic in Auckland’s future.

“It has been a long road for Ngati Whatua. Almost since the first 3000 acres were sold to settlers for building Auckland, Ngati Whatua have battled to retain some land as a place to stand. The Waitangi Tribunal report makes it clear that successive Treaty breaches by the Crown rendered the tribe virtually landless by 1885,” said Parekura Horomia.

Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford said the occupation of Bastion Point in 1977 brought the issue to a new generation of Aucklanders and ushered in an era of protest that led to the current round of Treaty settlements.

“I want to pay tribute to Joe Hawke who led the occupation. He was part of a long line of Ngati Whatua who fought to hold onto the land. In doing so he touched the hearts of many Aucklanders.

“Today Bastion Point is not only one of Auckland’s most stunning places, it is a permanent reminder of a people’s will to survive and find justice,” Phil Twyford said.