December 19, 2019
Public works used to undermine King Country self-government
The Waitangi Tribunal says more Māori land was taken for public works in the King Country than in any other part of New Zealand once the area was opened up for Pākeha settlement.
In the fourth part of its report on Te Rohe Pōtae claims, the tribunal says the excessive taking of land was one of a number of significant breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi that undermined the mana and autonomy of iwi and hapuÌ„.
It followed a period of rapid alienation of MaÌ„ori land after Ngāti Maniapoto allowed the main trunk railway line to run across its territory, which was detailed earlier parts of the report.
Promises in that earlier agreement, known as Te Ohāki Tapu, for Te Rohe Pōtae Māori to continue to exercise self-government were quickly forgotten as Pākeha local government structures were imposed on the area.
Māori land was taken for public works without meaningful consultation and without meeting tests of last resort, or whether other land might be available.
Part five of the report will address issues of education and health, as well as some specific geographic claims.
Ngāti Maniapoto signed an agreement in principle in 2017 for a $165 million settlement package, but work is still continuing toward a final deed of settlement.
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