Friday, July 31, 2009



Friday July 31, 2009
5:54PM NZT
An apology from the Crown and an historic statement of forgiveness were exchanged on Thursday night after Parliament passed legislation enacting a Treaty settlement covering the wider Wellington region.

Prime Minister John Key read the Crown apology and said the statement of forgiveness, the first to be delivered formally by iwi to the Crown, marked a new phase in relationships.

The apology says the Crown is "deeply sorry it has not always lived up to its Treaty of Waitangi obligations and its principles" in its dealings with Taranaki Whanui ke Te Upoko o Te Ika.

The statement of forgiveness was delivered by former governor-general Sir Paul Reeves, a trustee and chairman of the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust.

It says the Crown is forgiven "for its breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles ... and for its failure to protect our interests in the acquisition and administration of our lands."

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the enactment of the legislation was the final stage in the settlement of Taranaki Whanui ke Te Upoko o Te Ika's historical claims.

The claims relate to breaches by the Crown of its obligations under the Treaty, particularly the Crown's dealings over and acquisition of the Port Nicholson Block, and its long delays in ensuring there was appropriate administration of reserved lands.

The Taranaki Whanui ke Te Upoko o Te Ika is a collective comprising people from a number of Taranaki iwi whose ancestors migrated to Wellington in the 1820s and 1830s and signed the Port Nicholson Block Deed of Purchase in 1839.

The settlement provides commercial and cultural redress, a $25 million financial package, and the vesting of various culturally significant sites around the Port Nicholson area.

The cultural redress package includes the transfer of three islands in Wellington Harbour, with public access rights preserved.

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