Waitangi Treaty Settlements

Yesterday, the government signed a bill which will give land to seven iwi (Maori tribes) in the central North Island. About 100,000 people make up these seven iwi. The land at the moment is owned by the government and includes forest. The value of the land and the rental of forests are worth close to $500 million.

It has taken 20 years for this Treaty of Waitangi settlement which is an agreement by the government to give back land. It is Maori land that was taken by the government during the 19th century. The Waitangi Tribunal found that this land was taken unfairly. The Maori tribes have suffered a lot of grief at the loss of their land. These seven tribes claimed they had lost their land and they wanted it back.

The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 guaranteed Maori the rights to their lands, forests, fisheries and all their treasures but some land was sold by people who did not own it. After the land wars in the 1860s, the government took some Maori land as punishment. Later, many Maori tribes lost control of their land because the government said land had to be owned by one person not by a tribe.
The Waitangi Tribunal is a court which meets to look at Maori land claims. Since 1992, the government has settled 22 Maori claims, at a cost of about $1 billion, but these seven iwi have been waiting for the last 20 years for their settlement.

Yesterday, nearly 800 Maori attended Parliament to see Michael Cullen sign the agreement. Michael Cullen is the Minister of Finance and also the minister who is dealing with Treaty claims. Many Maori attending Parliament yesterday were crying because of the past suffering and also for the long time they have had to wait for their claim to be settled. Others were happy that at last, the government was doing the right thing.

The seven Maori tribes say they will use the money for all their people, for education and for jobs, especially in the forestry industry.

One Comments

  1. Thanks for understanding the history of Maori .
    As a immigrant, the eslnews give big helping to know new zealand.

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