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Chatham Islands iwi sign treaty settlement agreement

The Chatham Islands.

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The Chatham Islands
Photo: RNZ / Matthew Theunissen

Chatham Islands iwi Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri today signed an agreement in principle for a treaty settlement with the Crown.

It marks a significant milestone toward the settlement of their historical Treaty of Waitangi claims.

The agreement outlines a settlement package including $13 million in redress, the option to transfer culturally significant lands to Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri as cultural redress, and shared redress between the iwi and Moriori.

There were also important historical acknowledgements in the agreement – including that the crown annexed Wharekauri/Chatham Islands without any effort to consult with the iwi, failing to recognise and respect its mana and tino rangatiratanga.

The crown also acknowledged how native land laws – particularly awarding land to individuals rather than iwi or hapū – caused Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri prejudice.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little said the signing was a step toward resolving long-standing historical grievances with the crown.

“While no settlement can truly compensate for the past injustices Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri have endured, it is my sincere hope that today’s Agreement in Principle paves the way towards reaching a comprehensive settlement and enduring partnership between Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri and the Crown,” said Little.

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