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Wairarapa iwi near $93m Waitangi closure

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/05/2016
240714. Photo Diego Opatowski / RNZ. Maori from Tuhoe arriving for the final reading of the iwi's Treaty Settlement in Parliament. Chris Finlayson. © RNZ / Diego Opatowski Chris Finlayson

The Crown and a Wairarapa iwi are closing to settling a $93-million Treaty of Waitangi claim.

Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki Nui-a-Rua signed with the Crown an agreement in principle to settle its historical treaty claims on Saturday.

The agreement provides a basis for the Crown and the iwi to develop a detailed deed of settlement, says Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson.

The broad settlement package included a Crown apology as well as financial and commercial redress of $93m and the opportunity to purchase crown-owned properties, including the 100,000ha Nagumu Forest as well as hospital, school and other government department lands.

Cultural redress includes the vesting of 19 crown-owned sites of cultural significance to the iwi and four sites to be shared with Rangitane o Wairarapa and Rangitane o Tamaki Nui-a-Rua.

In the 1840s and 1850s Ngati Kahungunu had resisted selling land to the Crown, preferring the economic benefits of leasehold arrangements.

However, in 1853 they were convinced to sell about 600,00ha, or three-fifths, of the land, but the expected benefits of the sales never materialised.

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