The Ngāti Raukawa iwi confederation presented its treaty claims to the Waitangi Tribunal at Parewahawaha Marae in Bulls for the third week of hearings from November 9-13.
Dennis Emery (Ngāti Kauwhata), chairperson of Te Hono ki Raukawa Council, a main claimant group, said it was one of the last big treaty claims in Aotearoa.
“The iwi comprise some 30,000 members and belong to Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngā Iwi O Te Reureu, Ngāti Tūkorehe and Ngāti Wehiwehi and are based in the Manawatū, Horowhenua and Kāpiti Coast,” he says. “The main grievance and highly contentious issue is termed te pene raupatu, or land loss by the stealth of the pen for over 320,000 acres.”
One particular purchase, about 240,000 acres, is described as one of the most fraudulent in New Zealand history, which was backed by a Native Land Court decision. The purchases and the Native Land Court laws of the late 1890s and early 1900s that removed the capacity of each hapū to manage its lands meant that the Rangitīkei, Manawatū and Horowhenua iwi became the most landless in the country.
The iwi lost more than most in the proportion of their land taken by the Government.
“We also suffered in terms of cultural loss, loss of papakāinga [settlements] and consequently the tribes’ self-sufficiency. We suffered a much greater loss than others emanating in the opportunity of not being able to participate in the country’s economy.”
This is the third of 12 designated hearings that started at Hato Paora College, Feilding, on March 9. It will progress to Horowhenua and Ōtaki following a clear historical sequence of events. The original claim, Wai 113, was lodged in 1989 by kaumātua Whata Karaka Davis, Ngārongo Iwikatea Nicholson, Te Maharanui Jacob and Pita Richardson. They have all since died.
Local hapū Ngāti Parewahawaha and Ngāti Manomano will be speaking to their claims and technical researcher Dr Heather Bassett will speak to her report on the effects of the Public Works Acts on the entire iwi estate.
Hearing week Four has been scheduled for December 7-11 and is expected to be hosted by Ngā Iwi O Te Reureu at Te Tikanga Marae at Tokorangi.