Marama Davidson - Heretaunga Tamatea Claims Settlement Bill - Third Reading

The Green Party stands here, absolutely in full support of the people of Heretaunga Tamatea and this settlement,

 

which is long overdue, which many in this House have acknowledged has taken some time to get to this point. Along with that time has taken some people who have not been able to be here today to see this third reading of the Heretaunga Tamatea Claims Settlement Bill, an auspicious day, a day that acknowledges the incredibly hard work that has happened and the sacrifices that have been made and the generosity of Heretaunga Tamatea. So it is on this generosity of Heretaunga Tamatea that I am going to focus much of my contribution in this House today.

I'm going to start off by picking up a couple of points that previous members of this House have mentioned. I want to continue the theme of the Hon Chris Finlayson, who made specific mention of the Crown not holding up its part of the Treaty of Waitangi, of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It's a big focus of this particular settlement bill. I will expand a little bit more on that later.

I also quickly wanted to pick up on the Glasgow leases issues, which, as the previous speaker mentioned, are absolutely a challenge. I am honoured to be on the Māori Affairs Committee. That did prove quite a big topic of conversation in our select committee. It was quite technical, what has happened where the Glasgow leases generally have long fixed terms and perpetual rights of renewal have limited the return that has been able to be made on that land. It went through a whole lot of divisions, of dividing up the land into pockets, and that has made it quite difficult for Te Aute College and for Heretaunga Tamatea hapū. The Crown policy is that Treaty settlements cannot interfere with the rights and interests of private parties, such as leases—that, in itself, is incredibly problematic. I just wanted to acknowledge that where we got to is that the Crown has attempted to address Te Aute Trust Board's concerns without overriding that settlement policy regarding private property rights.

So the committee considered the bill to not be the proper form for addressing the issue of Glasgow leases more generally. But I pick up on Te Aute to put on the record for the Green Party how challenging that particular issue is, and also just to pick up on a bit of a quip comment from the Opposition leases from Mr Alfred Ngaro, who made some suggestion about some competition between boarding schools. I have no idea what he's talking about, but I'll just say quickly that I'm a Queen Victoria School old girl. But I'll also just say that Mr Alfred Ngaro, he happened to mention some preference about where the best-looking girls are, and I just want to say that I have no judgment on the attractiveness of the girls who may have attended Queen Victoria School at the time that I was there, but I can tell you for sure we are staunch, we are committed to decolonising Aotearoa, and we're pretty smart.

I cannot stand to speak on this bill without acknowledging in some detail the historical account, the dirty dealings, really—the shady, dirty dealings that happened that resulted in Heretaunga Tamatea having its land taken off. So I wanted to start by—in the bill, as it outlines it in the late 1840s. Rangatira invited the Crown. They saw some economic opportunities. They saw some way to be able to benefit generations to come, and said, "Come and have a look at some of our whenua. How can we work together? How can we have a partnership?" So that did happen, the Crown did come. The Crown encouraged customary owners to accept an incredibly low price for that whenua in order to gain access to these anticipated benefits. So the Crown officials also arranged for a large area to be added to that block sale, without the knowledge of the whenua's occupants, of Heretaunga Tamatea. Again, during the 1850s, we see that the Crown acquired land secretly—underhanded, shady— without seeking the consent of all customary owners. Now, this sort of carry-on, which continued and continued and continued, is bound to cause tensions in the relationship internally, within Heretaunga Tamatea and absolutely with the Crown. So that led to violence and it led to rangatira being killed. That is an incredible price to pay for the Crown not holding up its part of the deal.

So this continuation of shady dirty deals happened and happened and happened, including the breaking up of land title into individual title. I wanted to pick up—this has happened around Aotearoa since the signing of the Treaty, but I realise we don't often concentrate on why that is a bad thing. What actually happened when we broke up collective ownership, when the Crown broke up collective ownership, into individual title, is it actually broke up the core of Te Ao Māori relationship to each other and to the land. It didn't just enable land to be taken. It didn't just do that. Breaking up whenua into individual title attacked the very psyche of how we behave and how we operate and our connections and accountability to each other, to mokopuna that aren't even here yet, to our tūpuna behind us, and to each other internally, and, most importantly, to Papatūānuku and to taiao, to our whenua and our wai. That's what breaking up title did, as well as making it easier for the land to be ripped off.

So I did want to spend a bit of time today, probably for the first time ever, and I've spoken on many third readings, actually putting a focus on what was being done to us when the Crown broke up our land titles. They didn't just sell off our land; they were attacking who we are and what we stand for. They were imposing on us the western focus on individualism, which says that you must run roughshod over everyone else around you and over your land to do well for yourself. That's what it did. So I want it to be very clear on the House today that it went to the core of Te Ao Māori and the way we behave and our belief in terms of upholding the mana of each other and our whakapapa.

I only have a short time left and so many things to say, so I'm going to include in my contribution today some of the environmental issues. Oh no, first I want to be very clear about the specific sacrifices that were made, where Heretaunga Tamatea was a good Treaty partner, was an honourable and dignified partner in this relationship of attempting to work together with the Crown. What happened was a lot of sacrifices were made; in particular, it's acknowledged in the bill, the significant contribution the hapū of Heretaunga Tamatea have made to the wealth and development of Hawke's Bay and, indeed, around Aotearoa, and that includes in the areas of the economy, education, farming, politics, culture and arts, public service and business—only everything; that's all. That's all you contributed to, and also to the war service efforts of tūpuna from Heretaunga. That is also acknowledged in the bill. The Crown acknowledges that it has failed to address these longstanding grievances.

I'm going to finish off with mentioning your wai and that you get access and rangatiratanga back over it, including Whatumā, Rūnanga, Poukawa, Tūtaekurī, Ngaruroro, Maraetōtara, Tukituki, Waipawa, Mākāretu, and Pōrangahau-Tāurekaitai rivers, and the Pekapeka swamplands and our mahinga kai that are central to the well-being of the hapū of Heretaunga Tamatea. If you had been able to maintain your rangatiratanga over your wai, they wouldn't be in the degraded state they are in today. And this is why the Green Party is absolutely clear that we uphold the rangatiratanga proprietary and customary rights for mana whenua over water because that will be for the benefit of all of us. Kia ora.