May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Commission review finds positive progress on Treaty

3 min read

The past year has seen positive progress on Treaty of Waitangi issues, according to an annual review by the Human Rights Commission, Te Tiriti o Waitangi the Treaty of Waitangi: 2009 in Review.

TreatyReview2009CRace Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said the previous years momentum in the Treaty settlement process had continued. There were significant hearings and reports by the Waitangi Tribunal, Terms of Negotiation and Deeds of Settlement signed, and settlement legislation passed in Parliament.

A welcome development was government consultation with claimants on how to advance the settlement process, said Mr de Bres.

One of the central features of Crown-M?ori relations in 2009, highlighted in the Commissions review, was the National Party working with the Maori Party in Government.

Positive moves were made in the review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, with the Government pledging to repeal the Act and work with iwi to develop an alternative approach.

The Maori Party was able to win concessions for some iwi in the revised Emissions Trading Scheme and, through ministerial portfolios, establish the Taskforce on Wh?nau-centred Initiatives and achieve agreement on a Maori flag for Waitangi Day.

No provision was made, however, for Maori seats on the Auckland super city council, despite widespread support, and processes for the select committee sub-committee to report on the issue were sidestepped.

A public opinion survey found the number of New Zealanders who had a good understanding of the Treaty rose from 34 per cent to 41 per cent. 56 per cent viewed the Treaty as New Zealands founding document.

Mr de Bres said a major issue in 2010 will be the proposed constitutional review, including not only the place of the Treaty in New Zealands constitutional arrangements but also the place of Maori representation.

The review offers an opportunity to strengthen human rights protections in New Zealand, which include the rights of Indigenous peoples.

The report lists the following Treaty milestones:

  • A review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 recommended it be repealed and an alternative regime established.
  • The Royal Commissions recommendation to establish dedicated M?ori seats on the Auckland super city council was rejected by the Government.
  • The New Zealand Geographic Board voted to change the spelling of Wanganui to Whanganui. The Minister for Land Information approved the use of both names.
  • A national Maori flag for Waitangi Day was chosen following nationwide consultation hui, and the Government announced it would be flown from selected public buildings in 2010.
  • The Waitangi Tribunal registered its 2236th claim, released three pre-publication reports on aspects of the Urewera, Whanganui ki Tararua district inquiries and heard under urgency claims by East Coast claimants concerning their recognition in the Ngati Porou settlement.
  • Crown-iwi hui were held to discuss how best to achieve the 2014 Treaty settlement goal.
  • Six Agreements in Principle and two Deeds of Settlement for historical Treaty claims were made. Settlement legislation was passed for the Taranaki Whanui ki te ?poko o te Ika claims. The Ngati Apa Settlement Bill and the Whanganui On-account Settlement Bill received their first readings.
  • Waikato River co-management arrangements were reviewed and Waikato-Tainui signed a Deed of Settlement with the Crown for their river claims.
  • A further two recognised iwi organisations were mandated under the fisheries settlement legislation, bringing the total to 50 out of 57.
  • Consultation occurred for five new m?tatai reserves on the west coast of the South Island.
  • Ten iwi and the Crown signed a Deed of Settlement for commercial aquaculture claims in Hauraki and the South Island.
  • The Maori Trustee was established as a stand-alone entity, separate from Te Puni Kokiri.
  • A Taskforce on Whanau-centred Initiatives was established to promote wh?nau well-being (wh?nau ora).
  • Concessions for some iwi were included in the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme.

Download a copy of the review document: Te Tiriti o Waitangi the Treaty of Waitangi: 2009 in Review (PDF 845Kb).

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