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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Urewera Notional Park

Tuhoe and the NZ government have signed a Treaty settlement deal. Finlayson makes it clear that it is the government's deal though: "Crown Offer Accepted by Ngai Tuhoe Settlement Negotiators". Tuhoe have accepted it. Not the Crown has accepted Tuhoe's offer. The Treaty settlement process doesn't work that way - all the chips and all the cards in this game are held by the NZ government and they can deal out however many they want to whoever they want and follow whatever rules they themselves make up, so when they say "negotiation" that's not really as wholesome as it would first appear. And when the NZ government says they drove a hard bargain - as Helen Clark used to remind people - all they are saying is that from their position of overwhelming power they have screwed the Iwi over.

However, Tuhoe does have certain geographical advantages that other tribes do not in that their lands have been well defined, the Crown used to have statutory recognition of their autonomy, and most of the land is still in their possession under the Maori Land Act, most of the population are Tuhoe, and the National Park (that a previous National government created in the 1950s) is entirely within their territory. It will now be more of a Notional Park than a National Park under the deal. That and the services agreement are the main gains for Tuhoe, but it is still not the ideal situation for them (and with potential Pakeha backlashes being stirred up by Paddy Gower et al in the press gallery also not the preferred situation for the government either). But well done Tuhoe and their team for getting this far.
“This is an historic day confirming the ability of the Crown and Tuhoe to work together into the future, according to the Relationship Agreement signed by us in 2011”, Tamati Kruger said.

I am delighted to reach the goal of a Crown offer that can be developed into a Deed of Settlement,” Mr Finlayson said.

“Ngāi Tuhoe’s history shows clearly why it is so important to settle genuine historical Treaty grievances,” Mr Finlayson said.

“The conditions in Te Urewera, which contains some of our most deprived and isolated communities, show the very real and continued effects of the Crown’s Treaty breaches on the daily lives of Ngāi Tuhoe people in the present.“

“Huge areas of the iwi’s land were wrongly confiscated, and more purchased unjustly. Military campaigns against Tuhoe prisoners and civilians were described even at the time as ‘extermination’, and the Crown employed a scorched earth policy in Tuhoe settlements in the Te Urewera.”


Judth Binney's book 'Encircled Lands' is a good place to look for a flavour of what the NZ government planned for Tuhoe. They had a plan in the early 1870s to force Tuhoe - and all Maori - out of the inland areas and into a Gaza-type scenario on the sand dunes West of Whakatane where they could be killed off should they rebel again. Fortunately the ethnic cleansing, the thin wedge of genocide, never came about due to overstretch: it wasn't for any moral qualms it was that they didn't have the money.


At 12/9/12 9:05 am, Blogger Steve Withers said...

I heard an interview on Checkpoint Tuesday evening with a leader from Tuhoe.

He said (paraphrasing): The land was here first. It owns itself. We just live on it and use it while we are here. If we can do that, then we do not need to own it in a European sense.

To me, this embodied the concept of stewrdship that is lacking in European concepts of ownership.

It is a much better way to see the world.


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