National | Settlement

Whakatōhea accepts $100 million treaty settlement

Members of Whakatōhea have voted to accept the Crown's $100 million settlement offer, marking an end to one of the longest-running and most contentious iwi settlements, with the initial offer of $40m rejected in 1996.

A six-week election process ended in November, and the result was announced last Friday showing 67 per cent of Whakatōhea members voting to accept the offer.

The negotiator of pre-settlement claims and Whakatōhea Trust Board rep Maui Hudson says it’s come full circle since their tīpuna 135 years ago approached the Crown to get redress for the raupatu (confiscations) and since negotiation talks first began over 30 years ago.

“One of the things that we learned about in 1996 was that it was not just about the money,” Hudson says. “We focused on things around mana and our relation to the whenua, the moana and our people. That became the basis of what we thought about.”

Whakatōhea's settlement journey comes to an end.

Included in the offer were 500ha of marine space, the return of over 6000ha of land, and cultural and commercial redress.

“We can do activities that start to not only tell our stories but also help us to mend our souls.”

Over 30% of the vote was not in favour. Some hapū contested its authority and wanted to bring grievances to Treaty Settlements Minister Andrew Little and the Waitangi Tribunal.

“We can settle and align with the wishes of our people but still continue with the tribunal process, so I think that’s a great thing.

"Some people would prefer to have settlements that are hapū level but when we put together Te Ara Tono (The Whakatōhea Mandate Inquiry Report), we always contemplated that maybe not every hapū would agree but we should all move forward as an iwi."

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