By Pattrick Smellie
Dec. 7 (BusinessDesk) - The government has acknowledged Treaty of Waitangi breaches against the Ngati Toa iwi and agreed a settlement package of cash, land and rights of first refusal on Crown assets valued at $70.6 million.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson announced the settlement related to land expropriation and confiscations around Wellington's so-called "Nicholson Block" and the top of the South Island, as well as the arrest and imprisonment of Te Rauparaha, the originator of New Zealand's most distinctive haka: "Ka Mate."
Ngati Toa Rangatira will receive financial redress of $70.6 million, including opportunities to purchase and lease back Crown properties and a right of first refusal over surplus Crown properties.
A key part of the settlement is a redress package relating to Kapiti Island, and includes a vesting and gift over part of the island, which will continue to be operated as a bird sanctuary by the Department of Conservation.
A total of 189 hectares of the island will be vested to the tribe, with provision for an overlay classification over the reserves, establishment of a strategic advisory committee and a conservation management plan, Finlayson said.
"The Department of Conservation will remain responsible for the management of Kapiti Island and public access will continue to be restricted to protect the high conservation values," he said in a statement.
Ngati Toa hailed from the Kawhia coast in the Waikato, but left the area in the 1820's under threat of wipe-out by other tribes, and re-established on Kapiti Island, areas around Wellington and the top of the South Island.
On the run, the iwi re-established itself in part through the war parties led by Ngati Toa chiefs, including Te Rauparaha, who composed the haka after escaping a hunting party of Ngati Maniapoto and Waikato enemies.
The haka is the most-performed Maori haka, including by the All Blacks national rugby team, before international test matches.
The announcement is the latest in a string of settlements this year, including the protracted and politically charged settlement achieved with Ngati Tuhoe.
The government wishes to settle all historical Treaty of Waitangi settlements by 2014.