Treaty claim agreed

Wairarapa Maori are the latest group to agree to a Treaty settlement. The government has offered the iwi $93 million, an apology for land that was taken from them, and some government-owned land. This Maori tribe first applied to the Waitangi Tribunal in 1989 so the process has taken 27 years so far.

A celebration was held in Dannevirke at the weekend where 400 iwi members signed the agreement.

After the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, Maori lost much of their land. The iwi in the Wairarapa lived on about 1 million hectares of land but by the mid 1850s, they had lost nearly all of it. Some land was sold illegally. Promises given by the government were not kept. This agreement gives them back 20,000 ha and the chance to buy back 21 culturally important land areas including forest and Lake Wairarapa.

The Waitangi Tribunal was established in 1975 to look at land claims from iwi. In the last 30 years, the Tribunal has recommended many settlements. The government hopes to finish all settlements in the next five years.

Listen to June 26 2008 for more about the Waitangi Tribunal.

Vocabulary

• Treaty – Treaty of Waitangi, an agreement between Maori and Queen Victoria (the Crown)
• iwi – tribes (Maori)
• claim – a document saying what the iwi had lost and what they want from the Crown
• settlement – compensation – money and/or land for what they lost and their suffering
• culturally important – rivers, lakes, sea and forests were important for catching food; other land where they had lived






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