Option 3: Additional redress outside the Treaty Settlement process such as establishing a Hoki Whenua Mai Fund

The current Treaty settlement framework and its requirement for 'large natural groupings' creates barriers for full redress in both process and outcome. This requirement reflects the interests of the Crown, and does not attempt to return the specific land wrongly taken from Māori, or alternative land of equivalent value and significance. Introducing new mechanisms for redress at hapū/whānau level would provide greater scope to restore relationships to whenua that improve holistic and intergenerational wellbeing. This could be done by establishing a Hoki Whenua Mai fund for whānau/hapū to reacquire dispossessed Māori land. This could be done at variable scale:

  1. Financial assistance, ranging from a grant to assist in securing a deposit to providing the full purchase price. This would enable land to be purchased at the whānau and hapū level, more closely reflecting Māori ways of organising. This would more effectively allow whānau and hapū to reacquire and restore relationships with whenua specific to their own histories and needs, as these will often differ significantly within iwi.
  2. Direct Crown acquisition then transfer of land, through new provisions in the Public Works Act to allow land to be acquired for the purpose of returning raupatu land (at market rates but precluding sale to an alternative buyer).

Eligible land could be that which has been found to be whenua raupatu by the Waitangi Tribunal (which has mostly already been identified). This could be reserved for whānau and hapū who have not directly benefited from a Treaty settlement in terms of land holdings or if done together with Option 2 above it could be broader, recognising that full and final settlements are not full so should not be final. Any redress provided through this mechanism would then be taken into account when determining other complementary redress.

In the future, the Hoki Whenua Mai fund could also potentially expand to ensure that all land taken through mechanisms that breached protections under Te Tiriti or the Treaty (such as public works land that was on-sold instead of returned and land taken because of rating arrears) is returned to its original owners. This would be possible after future investigations by the Waitangi Tribunal to assess the scale of land taken in this way and the specific parcels it would apply to.

Such a fund would require ongoing resourcing in order to provide all tangata whenua with the opportunity to reacquire their alienated whenua as it comes up for sale on the private market. Ideally, the fund would be resourced until it is no longer needed, until all whānau or hapū have had the opportunity to buy back wrongfully taken land as it came up for sale privately.