by Peseta Sam Lotu-liga MP
Parliament has today passed a bill that will resolve the historical Treaty of Waitangi settlement of Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei in the Tāmaki-Makaurau (Auckland) area.
As I said in my third reading speech this morning, it is my wish and my petition that a tree also be returned to Maungakiekie as a sign of our peace, unity and love.
It has been 12 years since activist Mike Smith used a chainsaw to bring down the 125-year old Monterey Pine and the Hill has stood treeless ever since.
One of the conditions of the understanding between the Auckland Council and Ngāti Whātua for the restoration of a tree back on One Tree Hill was the full and final settlement of treaty claims for iwi in the Tamaki Makaurau area.
As a witness to the signing of the Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Deed of Settlement and the Ngāti Whātua o Orakei Settlement, I am excited to see this bill pass through Parliament and address the wrongs of the past so we can look forward to the future.
This year alone the House has passed 11 pieces of Treaty legislation, totalling 22 Deeds of Settlement since November 2008.
This is an excellent example of the inclusive, diligent and astute leadership of the Hon. Christopher Finlayson in progressing the Government’s goal of resolving historical Treaty grievances with all iwi by negotiating in good faith as Treaty partners.
All New Zealanders benefit from the improvement in the Crown-Maori relationship. Jobs and wealth are created, and standards of living are raised.
Settlements address our past and invest in a common future. By providing an end point for injustices and reaching durable and just settlements, we can finally move forward as a country.
The Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Settlement Bill includes financial and commercial redress worth $18 million, which includes $2 million already received by Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei as redress for the 1993 Railways settlement.
It will also see the return of the Purewa Creek Conservation Area, a culturally significant site to Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei. The site will remain a recreation reserve and public access will not be affected.
This is about the people of Ngāti Whātua who live, breathe and work in my electorate of Maungakiekie, it was an honour to speak on the bill and today we celebrate with them on this momentous occasion.
Copies of the deeds of settlement are available on the Office of Treaty Settlements’ website www.ots.govt.nz
The writer is the MP for Maungakiekie