Te Paati Māori Co-leader Rawiri Waititi is welcoming the Government’s announcement that the Ihumātao land is to be purchased from Fletchers and a Rōpū Whakahaere, with a mana whenua majority, established to determine how the land is protected and utilised for generations to come.
“This agreement is a huge victory for the mana whenua of Ihumātao who have succeeded in protecting their whenua for future generations. Under the leadership of Pania Newton and SOUL they mobilised the country and ensured that their whenua was not permanently alienated,” said Mr Waititi.
“We congratulate the Kīngitanga and mana whenua of Ihumātao for leading this process and for their generosity in negotiating with the Crown for the return of whenua that has always been theirs.
“The win comes off the back of the strong advocacy of Te Paati Māori during the election campaign, in support of mana whenua. We will be continuing to support mana whenua and SOUL as they work to ensure a suitable outcome for their whenua and their whānau. As they have said today, “there’s a lot of work still do”.
“This agreement sets an important precedent as the Crown is acknowledging it has a role in ensuring justice and the return of whenua Māori, and that role is not confined to the Treaty settlement process.
“We know that there are many other ‘Ihumātao’ right around the country – sites of huge significance that mana whenua are fighting to have returned. It is the Māori Party position that no Treaty settlement is full and final if it is unjust, and that Treaty justice must mean the return of whenua Māori into the hands of whānau, hapū and iwi.
“The leadership of the mana whenua of Ihumātao has ushered in a new era of justice and liberation for Māori, an era that will see our tino rangatiratanga fully realised,” said Mr Waititi.