Hansard and Journals

Hansard (debates)

Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill — Second Reading

[Volume:657;Page:6714]

Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill

Second Reading

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES (Minister of Māori Affairs) : Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker, tēnā tātau e te Whare. Tēnā koutou kua hara mai nei ki te tautoko i tēnei āhuatanga i tēnei rāngi, tēnā tātau.

[Greetings to you, Mr Speaker, and to us, the House. Greetings also to those of you who have come here today in support of this matter, greetings to us.]

I move, That the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill be now read a second time. I am grateful to the Māori Affairs Committee for its work in considering the bill and for its report on the bill, and I acknowledge all the submitters who participated. There can be no doubt that the subject of the bill has captured the hearts of many a tourist, historian, archaeologist, and writer. The brilliance of the geothermal landscape; the legacy of the late guides Sophia Hinerangi, Rangi Dennan, and the more recently departed Bubbles Mihinui; the mighty Pōhutu Geyser; the unique fact of approximately 500 hot springs; and the spectacular displays of geothermal resource are all features that make Whakarewarewa a living thermal village that is on a par with the natural wonders of the world.

A debt of nationhood is seen in the bill, which finally gives effect to the deed entered into by Ngāti Whakauē, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Wāhiao, Te Pūmautanga trustees, and the Crown. The deed entered into on 5 August 2008 transfers three areas of recreational reserve lands—the Southern Arikikapakapa Reserve and the Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs Reserve, which together make up the Whakarewarewa Valley land, and the Roto-a-Tamaheke Reserve—to the iwi of Ngāti Whakauē and Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao. The reserves have the status of recreation reserves and are currently administered by the Ministry of Tourism under the Reserves Act 1977.

I emphasise from the start that the bill is not part of a Treaty settlement. It was deemed appropriate for the Minister of Māori Affairs to progress the proposal outside the Treaty settlement framework because it was considered to strengthen the Crown-Māori relationship generally and it was not providing any settlement redress to Ngāti Whakauē.

I spoke earlier about some of the distinctive history attached to the area. The leadership of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao and Ngāti Whakauē approached the Government back in April 2008 with a proposal to vest the Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs and the Roto-a-Tamaheke Reserve into a new joint trust once they had transferred to the affiliate Te Arawa Treaty settlement entity. But there is a particular story that I must tell, which helps to explain something about why we have come to this point today. In order to do so, we must travel back to the decade between 1883 and 1893 when the Whakarewarewa Valley was subject to no less than three Native Land Court hearings. The absence of fairness and transparency in the courts processes in establishing ownership over lands held according to Māori custom is now generally accepted. Suffice it to say, history reveals that the court originally established that ownership was to be shared by the hapū of Ngāti Wāhiao and Ngāti Whakauē.

Halfway through this time, a remarkable event occurred. The eruption of Mount Tarawera brought forth a torrent of mud, ash, and steam. A series of violent earthquakes occurred, and the settlements of Te Tapahoro, Moura, Te Ariki, Tōtarariki, and Waingongongo were either destroyed or buried. In the wake of the eruption, Tūhourangi evacuated from Mount Tarawera and were welcomed into Whakarewarewa, where they settled and married into Ngāti Wāhiao, and remain there to this day.

Yet the outcome of the Native Land Court hearings continues to be hotly contested by the iwi parties today. As a consequence of the court’s decision, the land surrounding the village passed into Crown ownership. But despite the Crown’s administration of these reserve lands, initially by the Department of Tourist and Health Resorts, and, more recently, by the Ministry of Tourism, the whenua itself has never ceased to hold immense significance to the iwi. It has always been, and always will be, central to the identity of Ngāti Wāhiao, Tūhourangi, and Ngāti Whakauē.

Today I remain absolutely confident that all iwi and mana whenua interests in the reserves will be able to participate in the arrangements for their management and allocation in the future. The recently concluded facilitation process conducted by Te Ururoa Flavell and John Clarke—whom I acknowledge for their hard work—and the staff of Te Puni Kōkiri allowed iwi and mana whenua to discuss future management. I am pleased to hear that the four koromatua whakapapa lines will be the basis for mana whenua settlement.

The Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill supports cultural identity in so many ways, including the fast-emerging trend of iwi management of critical cultural assets, self-determination by Māori over the activities undertaken on and around the iwi kāinga, and the accompanying realisation of tino rangatiratanga.

This bill also reflects the fact that the iwi parties have agreed to initiate a process after the bill becomes law that will allow iwi to determine the allocation of mana whenua interest in the land. The bill itself does not provide for this process to occur; this is a matter for iwi parties to determine. I understand that this process will be undertaken in accordance with tikanga. The mana whenua process may result in the reserves being administered by the hapū in whom the Native Land Court originally established ownership. This is exactly how it should be, because, at the end of the day, mandating and management issues are always the domain of iwi and hapū to sort out. We all await the results with great interest.

I remind the House that many of these issues have endured over generations, and no doubt will continue to be the subject of debate amongst the people. I think that a comment from Ngāti Whakauē might apply more broadly to all hapū and iwi implicated in this bill: “Hei aha noa ake i mate ai au ka tipu aku pākārito. It does not matter if I die; I am survived by my descendants.” We know that matters of land, ownership, and tino rangatiratanga are the issues most passionately contested, jealously guarded, and vigorously upheld by the people, and they will continue to be so after this bill has passed. However, I am absolutely confident that the iwi have the capacity within themselves to manage the mana whenua process in a way that reflects their tikanga and enhances the taonga associated with this land. There is no one else better and no one more capable than tangata whenua to manage their own whenua and the taonga associated with that whenua.

I note that the iwi have agreed to maintain the reserve status, which creates an ongoing relationship with the Minister of Conservation. It is a manifestation of their rangatiratanga, their noble commitment to the Crown-iwi relationship; I am humbled by their graciousness.

He tika tonu te whakamihi ki ngā kaumātua o ngā iwi nei kua ngaro i te kitenga kanohi. Moe mai rā e koro mā, e kui mā i te pō. Ka mihi hoki ki ngā uri e whai tonu ana i ngā moemoeā o ō rātau kuia, o ō rātau koroua mō te whenua tipuna nei. E hika mā, tēnei ka whakatutuki haere i te kupu a te Karauna i kī ai, nō koutou tēnei whenua, mā koutou e whakahaere. Kei te whakamihi au ki te wāhanga o tēnei pire e kī ana, mā koutou anō e whakariterite te mana whenua i runga anō i ō koutou tikanga. Kia kaha ki a koutou. Tēnei ka tuku i te pire nei ki mua i te aroaro o te Whare.

  • [An interpretation in English was given to the House.]

[It is appropriate to acknowledge the elders of those tribes who have departed this life. Slumber there in the night, ancient menfolk and womenfolk. I also acknowledge the descendants who are giving life to the dreams and aspirations of their old womenfolk and menfolk for this ancestral land. People, this fulfils and gives effect to the commitment of the Crown that this is your land, and it is for you to administer. I acknowledge the section of this bill that states that you, the people alone, will determine authority over the land according to your customs. Be strong in your endeavours.]

I commend this bill to the House.

Hon MITA RIRINUI (Labour) : Otirā kei Te Kaihautū hei tuatahi māku, e tika ana kia mihi atu rā ki te riu o te waka o Te Arawa kua tatū mai i roto i te Whare i tēnei ahiahi. Nā rātou i haere tawhiti mai, runga anō i te tūmanako te tutuki pai ai te kaupapa i haria mai e rātau mai i te hau kāinga tae noa mai ki te Whare Miere. Nō reira, kai ōku pāpā, kai ōku tuākana, rangatira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

[Indeed, the first thing for me, Mr Assistant Speaker, and appropriately enough, is to acknowledge the bilge of the Te Arawa canoe, which has landed here in the House this afternoon. They have travelled some distance in the hope that the matter they have brought here from home to the Beehive will be successfully completed. So greetings to you, my fathers, elder siblings, and chiefs, greetings to you all.]

I briefly take this opportunity to acknowledge the presence of esteemed kaumātua, my kaumātua from Te Arawa, who have, on many occasions, travelled from their homes to support legislation to transfer iconic assets and iconic kōrero by way of legislation. It probably would suit them better to do it a different way, without the need for parliamentary interference, but we do not live in that type of society. So here we are today ensuring the passage of this particular vesting legislation.

I also acknowledge the person who is not here in the House today, the previous Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon Parekura Horomia, and his determination to see Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke returned to its rightful owners, the iwi that has been mentioned here today. I thank the current Minister of Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples, for the historical overview he gave in terms of the importance of Whakarewarewa and the lands around Whakarewarewa, and also for his support of the passage of this legislation. The Minister of Maori Affairs made a number of references to history, but I do not particularly want to go into the history. It is a very emotional history. It is a history that goes back several decades to some tragic circumstances that happened to the people of Tūhourangi and Ngāti Wāhiao, including Ngāti Whakauē, and this brought about a particular relationship that cannot be severed by this House or any future generations of Ngāti Whakauē, Tūhourangi, or Ngāti Wāhiao. I will speak specifically about the technical aspects of the bill, because it is less emotional and it is more appropriate for the second reading debate on this bill.

To make my point obvious, I support the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill, and in doing so, I declare, as I did in the first reading debate on this bill, a vested interest in it. In other words, I am associated with this settlement. I also want to acknowledge the collective efforts of those members of the Māori Affairs Committee who, over a long period of time, heard submissions and went through a very difficult process to attempt to listen to all the views that were expressed, particularly the concerns from a number of groups who attended the hearings in Rotorua. Having said that, I think the Minister of Māori Affairs made a very, very relevant point, which was that some issues that were brought before the Māori Affairs Committee were best resolved by the iwi themselves. There is no way that this House can interfere, or attempt to interfere, with decisions that were made by the people, the leaders of Te Arawa some several decades ago, particularly at the time of the Mount Tarawera eruption, with all the devastation that took place as a result of that. There was the loss of life, loss of estates, loss of communities, and the displacement of people.

As I said early on, this is a very, very important transfer. I also wanted to say that this is not the first time that this type of arrangement has been entered into, particularly by the previous Government. As the Minister of Māori Affairs highlighted, this is not a Treaty settlement; this is basically a transfer of assets to their rightful owners.

I want to congratulate the Minister on acknowledging that point, and also I want to acknowledge the Government for supporting the Minister with this legislation, because it is a better way of settling longstanding grievances between iwi and the Crown. As I said earlier on, this is not the first time this has happened. I recall that only weeks before the first reading debate on this legislation we also had in the House the third reading of the Mauao Historic Reserve Vesting Bill, which basically ensured the return of the iconic maunga to the people of Tauranga Moana and the fee simple title to those people. This, of course, protected the iconic sites around the maunga and the history of the maunga by way of the Reserves Act. I congratulate the Minister and the Government on supporting him in that.

Having said that, I point out that there are other iconic places around the Bay of Plenty that deserve the same sort of attention and the same sort of treatment. I hope the Minister of Māori Affairs is able to persuade the Government to look at, for instance, the issues of Tūhoe, in particular Te Urewera forest, which is an indigenous forest that is probably recognised internationally as being one of the finest indigenous forests in the world. This is an issue for Tūhoe, particularly in terms of the return of the fee simple title of Te Urewera forest to Tūhoe people. If the Government trusts Māori people to manage Whakarewarewa and Te Roto-a-Tamaheke, and Mauao, in a way that is of an acceptable standard—and I do not see any reason why it should not—then surely it can have enough trust to trust Tūhoe and other iwi around the country that want the same sort of settlement arrangements.

So we are entering into a new approach. That new approach is one where iwi and the Crown sit down and ask each other whether they trust each other. They ask each other whether they can do this without having to open the history books and prove that they have an association with this particular piece of land, this particular piece of forest, these particular lakes, this particular foreshore and seabed, or these particular iconic sites. If both parties can say to themselves that there is a need for both parties to demonstrate trust, then I am sure that all the issues that the Māori Affairs Committee has had to hear, to deal with, and to instruct officials to facilitate a positive outcome on will not necessarily need to happen. You see, this process was delayed, and I believe it was delayed unnecessarily. However, there were those who felt that they were not part of the process or that their interests may not necessarily be protected or represented through this legislation. Therefore, the Māori Affairs Committee had no option but to listen to and respond to requests by the Minister of Māori Affairs to allow, in this case, the member for Waiariki, accompanied by Office of Treaty Settlements officials, to facilitate meetings to progress the next important stages of this legislation.

One thing we need to acknowledge is that although there was a positive outcome, there was also an issue that was best dealt with between the respective iwi. If we can, as I said earlier on, develop a high level of trust between Crown and Māori, we may overcome all those issues. In most cases, and this legislation is one of those cases, I think there may have been times when there was very little trust on either side of the table. As a former Associate Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and having been involved in negotiations for this particular transfer, I know that that was the case.

There is always room for improvement, and I have said to the member for Waiariki on many occasions that we can only get better at doing this. This particular method of transfer, in terms of Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke, is another case where trust has eventually been shown—I repeat, eventually shown.

I do not have much more to say. The Minister of Māori Affairs rightly highlighted all the technical aspects of this particular bill. I had intended to do so, but I find myself running out of time. I say to those representatives of Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa who basically drove this process and the return of these iconic sites that I once again acknowledge their efforts, particularly the difficult issues they had to deal with in terms of criticism, ridicule, and some very, very uncomplimentary remarks that were made to them. They stuck with it; they did not run away or drop the ball. There were no hospital passes. They kept on with it, and they made sure it came to a satisfactory conclusion. I acknowledge their presence here today. Kia ora.

Hon TAU HENARE (National) : I will not take up much of the House’s time. Suffice it to say that I support the second reading of the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill and I support the job the Minister of Māori Affairs and the Māori Affairs Committee did. I congratulate Te Ururoa Flavell and John Clarke for their hard work in trying to get a couple of the sides together. I also acknowledge the representatives of the Pukeroa-Ōruawhata Trust and Te Kotahitanga o Ngāti Whakauē, and those who represented Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa Trust.

I leave for the last my views about Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, but I put them in this light. As someone who is Ngāti Hine-Ngāpuhi, I am Ngāti Hine through and through. I whakapapa to Ngāti Hine, but I also whakapapa to Ngāpuhi. Just because one is bigger than the other, maybe in genealogical ties, that does not mean the other organisation cannot have its place in the sun. Ngāti Hine and Ngāpuhi are moving this coming weekend to break away from one another. I hate to use the words “break away”, because how can someone break away from an ancestral tie? One might establish a new regime, but certainly someone cannot break away from his or her genealogical ties. My wish is that Tūhourangi would put in a comma in reference to Ngāti Wāhiao. I hope that one day that tie will move by, and that the people there will realise that the issue was about nothing more than placing the mana where it would do the most good for both Tūhourangi and Ngāti Wāhiao. To me, the argument was never about one being put over the top of the other; it was always about identity, whakapapa, and people generally wanting to be who they were, just as lots and lots of people want to be Ngāti Hine but not necessarily stop being Ngāpuhi—if members understand what I mean.

Hon Dr Pita Sharples: No!

Hon TAU HENARE: The member does not understand? Well, that is the Māori Party.

I finish by saying that for any transfer of goods or services that the Crown can make happen must happen as soon as possible. To have to wait around for the economic development, but not to have any tools to do the job, is a bit much to expect of people. For the local people at home and those at Whakarewarewa, I hope the transfer of assets can open up some new doors or avenues to economic development. Thank you.

Hon NANAIA MAHUTA (Labour—Hauraki-Waikato) : Tēnā koe. Tēnei e tāpiri atu āku nei whakaaro, āku nei mihi ki a koutou o Te Arawa waka kua tae mai nei ki te tautoko te pānui o tēnei wāhanga o te pire nei. Me te whakaaro anō ki a rātou e mātakitaki mai i ēnei kōrero i runga i te pouaka whakaata. Nō reira, tēnā koutou katoa.

[Greetings to you. I add my thoughts and acknowledgments to you, the canoe of Te Arawa, who have arrived here in support of this stage of the bill. I am mindful, as well, of those watching these addresses on television. So, greetings to you all.]

Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. I join with my colleague Mita Ririnui in acknowledging those who have travelled from afar, from Te Arawa, to listen to the deliberations on the second reading of the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill. I acknowledge the previous Minister of Māori Affairs, Parekura Horomia, and the previous Māori Affairs Committee for their work with the negotiators to ensure that the passage of this bill indicated a clear intent to resolve some of the historical grievances in this area. I acknowledge those who have negotiated long and hard to ensure that this transfer takes place. I also acknowledge the current Minister of Māori Affairs, Pita Sharples, and the current Māori Affairs Committee for their work.

I will make a few contributions. I start by saying the passage of this bill has not been delayed by any decision on this side of the House. That has to be clearly stated. In fact, within the context of moving forward, Labour acknowledged that this transfer is in the Treaty settlement, and that this is a step of goodwill and good faith taken within the context of the broader negotiations that were happening in the region of te Waiariki, and certainly in the central North Island with regard to the larger central North Island collective of negotiations towards Treaty settlements in the area. I make the observation that when we can take a step of goodwill and good faith towards the bigger picture of addressing some of the historical injustices that have occurred to iwi throughout our whole country, Parliament is taking a very clear and deliberate step that says it is absolutely necessary to continue to go down this path so that people can look forward. This bill is about more than just the transfer of land; it acknowledges the past. This is about ensuring that the future will remain intact in terms of how these iwi want it to look. This is an opportunity for all parliamentarians to say we actually think this is a good road to go down. With all those sentiments, I am certainly very supportive of ensuring that this bill continues its passage to its final reading.

A number of issues were raised by the Māori Affairs Committee, one of which was the decoupling of Tūhourangi and Ngāti Wāhiao. Far be it from me to recite the histories that lie behind why that has been the case. In fact, for my part, I would like it to be recorded in Hansard that the history around the Tūhourangi and Ngāti Wāhiao relationship is best told by those people themselves. If at any point in the future people want to come back and use the passage of this bill as a reason for or against certain propositions, let it not be on the basis of what parliamentarians say; let it be on the basis, which I certainly support, of Tūhourangi, Ngāti Wāhiao, and Te Arawa telling that story. It is inappropriate, from my point of view, for a Māori MP to put somebody else’s history in this House and use that as the absolute record.

The second point that I would like to refer to is the general recognition that Te Arawa is no stranger to the opportunities of the present and of the future. They have demonstrated over time that they are entirely capable of managing their economic base, of being able to provide for their people, and of being able to look to the future. This is another small part of a bigger opportunity that is ahead for the people there. And so it should be, because from my previous experience as Associate Minister of Tourism I know that the people of Te Arawa reflect who we are in terms of our identity as Māori people within New Zealand. They have a strong role to play, and will continue to have a strong role to play, in terms of how our identity as Māori is reflected within our own country and how it is perceived within the global community. I certainly want to acknowledge that, because if we look at some of the further consequences of that, and if we look at the role that Te Puia plays in its investment in Māori arts and crafts, we see that historically, and right up until this current day, many of our own iwi are able to point to the opportunities that have been opened up to us by the old Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, and now by Te Puia.

The third point that I would like to make is raised with the greatest of respect to members of the Māori Party. It concerns the role that they took by appointing a Māori MP as a negotiator in this particular instance. I have a concern about where that leads the thinking of this House with regard to the absolute right of iwi to have a direct relationship with the Crown in their negotiations. There is a difficulty with Māori MPs acting as negotiators, albeit they represent a constituency. We should not really take the role of a conduit and stand in the way of iwi having a direct negotiating role with the Crown. I believe that in principle. This puts us in a difficult situation, because a precedent has been set by the Māori Party. But I am absolutely clear that in my rohe the Māori Party does not represent the Māori people. I say, with the greatest of respect, we should cautiously walk down this road before we start to say Māori electorate MPs can have a role in negotiating with regard to particular interests that we might have as our own hobby horses in our own electorates. We all have the same scenarios happening. Tau Henare raised one, and we can point to the fisheries issues there. We have some issues, too. But I hesitate and err on the side of caution in favour of a direct negotiating relationship between iwi and the Crown. Māori MPs per se should not be taking on that role. I caution future thinking in this regard, with the greatest of respect.

The bill is a clear signal that there is an optimistic future ahead for Te Arawa. The bill is a starting point; it is part of a bigger picture. I am absolutely confident that the people of Te Arawa will continue to walk down their path of self-determination, opportunity, economic benefit, and growth, for the well-being of not only their own people but also their region and certainly those of us at large amongst other iwi. I commend the bill to the House. I hope that its smooth passage to its third reading happens forthwith, in a speedy way. Finally, to the clerks of the committee, and to all the advisers who provided advice to the Māori Affairs Committee, tēnā mihi atu ki a koutou katoa. Kia ora mai tātou.

CATHERINE DELAHUNTY (Green) : Tēnā koe, Mr Assistant Speaker Roy. Tēnā koutou katoa. Tēnā koutou Te Arawa iwi and hapū katoa. In acknowledging the travellers who have come so far, and are still travelling on this journey towards resolution, the Green Party supports the second reading of the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill. We appreciated Dr Pita Sharples’ historical kōrero regarding the whenua of Ngāti Wāhiao - Tūhourangi and Ngāti Whakaue. It is very important to acknowledge the issue that Dr Sharples raised about the bill not being a Treaty settlement but a vesting law based on transferral of assets to their rightful owners.

As a Pākehā, I acknowledge that these matters belong to tangata whenua. It is through their generosity that the land itself in this case has also been given some reserve status. But I also feel whakamā speaking about these matters when I do not know the place intimately, as tangata whenua do. If we do not know how the land is, how it smells at dawn, and how the rivers run, we do not understand what we are talking about when we talk about the return or the transfer of assets. Many of us grew up knowing very little about the realities for mana whenua of places such as Whakarewarewa. We went for our holidays and we enjoyed the visit, but we did not even know how to pronounce the names. We learnt about the eruption of the maunga Tarawera without understanding the displacement effects not only of colonisation but also of the eruption and the complexities that it has led to. So it is really important that we now do some learning about these issues. I see these bills as opportunities for Pākehā to do some learning and to do some listening so that we understand a little about what people have been through in this country, and what they are trying to achieve through these negotiations and engagements in terms of their whenua.

I tautoko the Labour MP Mita Rirnui in regard to the issue of Tūhoe and the Urewera forest, of which I also have a little knowledge, and the importance of ongoing work to find positive ways to address issues of ownership and relationship. As we know, justice delayed is justice denied. So we tautoko this bill through its second reading, and we look forward to supporting it through its third reading. We honour all of the people on the Māori Affairs Committee, both the current and the past, and all the MPs who have been engaged with the bill, but mostly the people themselves, who continue to work through their issues. It is through a negotiation outside this place that the issues of mana whenua land and how it should be managed will be settled between the parties. It is not the role of us as Pākehā to decide on these matters, but merely to offer our support to positive process. We support this bill through its second reading. Kia ora tātou.

TE URUROA FLAVELL (Māori Party—Waiariki) : Koutou o te kāinga, tēnā koutou katoa i hara mai i te rā nei. I am pleased to take a call in the second reading of the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill. As we know, this bill gives effect to an agreement negotiated by the Crown with Ngāti Whakaue and the collective of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao on the basis of a proposal that was presented by them to the Crown on 1 April 2008. I would like to acknowledge the initiative shown by the representatives of these groups—namely, the Pukeroa-Ōruawhatu Trust, Te Kotahitanga o Ngāti Whakaue, and Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao representatives on the Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa Trust—in developing the proposal and approaching the Crown.

This bill provides that the people of Ngāti Whakaue and Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao will be the owners of the Whakarewarewa Valley lands on the enactment of the bill. The fee simple estate in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs Reserve, the Southern Arikikapakapa Reserve, and the Roto-a-Tamaheke Reserve will vest in the Whakarewarewa Joint Trust, which holds the titles on behalf of the beneficial owners. The reserve lands will be held by the joint trust until they are vested in iwi or hapū in accordance with the beneficial entitlement determination procedure, which is set out in the trust deed establishing the joint trust. The joint trust will manage the leases of land to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute—Te Puia—as the administering body of the three recreational reserves, as provided for under the Reserves Act 1977.

The Waitangi Tribunal referred to the Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs Reserve as a taonga of great importance to the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao and Ngāti Whakauē people. It will be a great day to witness the return of this taonga to the rightful owners.

This bill comes out of agreements reached by the previous Government in the passage of the Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa settlement through this House. When the iwi mentioned earlier brought their proposal to the Crown, they asked that the Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs Reserve and the Roto-a-Tamaheke Reserve land on-vest from the Te Pūmautanga settlement legislation and, together with the adjacent Southern Arikikapakapa Reserve, be vested in a joint trust of the iwi partners. This was partly because of the Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Ngāti Whakauē, who were not included in the Te Pūmautanga settlement, should be recognised as owners in common with Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao of the valley. This bill achieves that purpose.

The matter of coupling of iwi was one that the Māori Affairs Committee heard a lot about in the Pūmautanga settlement over a year ago. Some of Ngāti Wāhiao, for example, made their concerns heard about being coupled with Tūhourangi not just in terms of the Te Pūmautanga settlement at the time but also knowing its relevance to this particular bill, which followed closely behind it—on 23 September 2008 to be precise.

This bill was referred to the Māori Affairs Committee. Sixteen submissions were received, and 14 of them were heard. I believe that the people definitely want settlement, but the key issues again related to the coupling of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, and therefore mandate issues and the process to be used to determine mana whenua over the Whakarewarewa Valley. No such issues were raised for Te Kotahitanga o Ngāti Whakauē or the Pukeroa-Ōruawhata Trust, and I hope representatives of these groupings will forgive me if I do not spend too much time on their part of the discussions. Dr Sharples himself, having heard the issues during the Te Pūmautanga settlement, and with those same issues again being raised in the select committee process, as Minister of Māori Affairs wanted to be assured the resource itself would end up in the hands of the appropriate koromatua, the appropriate hapū. The Minister, as other speakers have said, despatched Mr John Clarke and myself to facilitate discussions between all parties involved. As the select committee noted, this was “to seek assurance that Ngāti Wāhiao may participate in the structure set up to receive the … lands …, and … are appropriately represented in the Beneficial Entitlement Determination Procedure …”.

Can I firstly acknowledge those of the Pukeroa-Ōruawhata Trust, Te Kotahitanga o Ngāti Whakauē, Te Pūmautanga, and their representatives from the collective of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, as well as those of Te Maru o Ngāti Wāhiao, for contributing to the process. It was very much appreciated. After initial discussions with all parties, the main negotiations were between Te Pūmautanga, represented by Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao representatives, and Te Maru o Ngāti Wāhiao. The following matters were considered and general agreement reached, and I might also advise that the following discussions were presented to the Māori Affairs Committee. The committee’s report back to the House was based on the facilitation process.

There were two ways of providing the assurance the Minister was after. Firstly, there was a commitment to complete the process to fill the vacancy on the Whakarewarewa Joint Trust. Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao are represented on the Whakarewarewa Joint Trust by three trustees, and Ngāti Whakauē are represented by four trustees. There is one remaining vacancy for Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, which could be filled. I am pleased to report that it was agreed that a hui will be held at the Wāhiao meeting house, where nominations for the vacant position will be taken from the floor. A vote will also be taken at the hui to elect the fourth representative on the joint trust. Eligibility to vote will be according to those registered with either the Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa Trust or the Tūhourangi Tribal Authority, or by signing a statutory declaration at the hui. I believe that there was a determination to complete this as soon as is practicable.

The other way was to predetermine the process to decide on negotiators who would determine mana whenua issues as required under the beneficial entitlement determination procedure, which is set out in the trust deed establishing the joint trust. I am pleased to report that in terms of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao there was clear agreement from the parties that the mana whenua matters should be negotiated by representatives of each of the separate koromatua hapū in the bill—namely, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Hinganoa, Ngāti Tūkiterangi, and Ngāti Huarere—when in discussions with Ngāti Whakauē and the Pukeroa-Ōruawhata Trust. This is an important principle that will ensure that the negotiations will be done by elected representatives of the original owners.

The expectation, as set out in the deed of trust, is for “kanohi ki te kanohi discussions with each other, with a view to reaching agreement as to the ownership of the Lands”, to be guided by agreement on the tikanga to apply to the process, with an expectation of kōrero rangatira—namely, “open principled trustworthy dialogue by rangatira with authority to commit their hapu;”—to attain consensus, and for mediators to be appointed at any time, if required, to assist.

The great thing about this was that there was prior general agreement to the process, and this has given the Minister of Māori Affairs confidence that the beneficiary owners will determine their negotiations. Even minor details were set out, such as Te Puni Kōkiri managing the agreed process and acting as independent returning officers, and independent scrutineers being available during the registration, nomination, and voting stages of the agreed process.

In brief, the process would possibly look something like this. A newspaper notice would invite registrations by Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao people for the purpose of electing mana whenua representatives. This registration was to be for that purpose only. Beneficiaries would nominate their main whakapapa line and also note their own whakapapa connection. The whakapapa would need to be endorsed by any two of four agreed whakapapa experts. Once the registration closed, the publicly notified hui-ā-iwi would be held at the Wāhiao meeting house to decide the process for electing the mana whenua representatives. The question in the end was whether beneficiaries could nominate their main koromatua line and vote only once under that line, or vote under every koromatua line to which they affiliate. That vote would determine how the people voted, and the whole election process could then kick in.

The fact that the Tūhourangi group and the Te Maru o Ngāti Wāhiao group stayed with the discussions for some 3 months might indicate a commitment to find a way forward, and I acknowledge them for that. Was it all plain sailing? No, but the parties stayed with the task almost to the end. I can say that we as facilitators and, indeed, the Te Puni Kōkiri officials were so convinced that we had reached agreement that the bill was reported back to the House on the assumption of agreement resulting from the process. An agreement as such has not been agreed to date, but the Minister is clearly happy to advance the bill on good faith and the integrity of the parties that an agreed process will be followed, and to that end the bill should advance. At a recent meeting with the Minister of Māori Affairs, I understand, the Tūhourangi trustees have agreed to have a hui-ā-iwi that will confirm an electoral process.

In closing, I am sure that the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao and Ngāti Whakauē people will administer the reserves in a way that ensures they can be enjoyed by generations of New Zealanders and overseas visitors for years to come. I thank Mr John Clarke for his quiet wisdom, his thoughtful consideration, and his guidance of the facilitation process. We were ably assisted by Jonathan Easthope of Te Puni Kōkiri. Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou. We had advice from Dr John Tamahōri and Tom White when needed. I thank them all so much. I commend the bill to the House. No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora tātou katoa.

PAUL QUINN (National) : Tēnā koe, Mr Assistant Speaker Roy. Tēnā koe e te Whare. Tēnā koutou ngā rangatira o Te Pūmautanga. Nau mai, haere mai. Haere mai ki te Whare. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

I will take just a short call on the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill. Much of what I was going to say has been covered by the previous speaker, Te Ururoa Flavell, so I look forward to covering the more technical aspects during the Committee stage.

I acknowledge the previous speakers. The Minister of Māori Affairs and, to a lesser extent, my cousin Mita have covered some of the history, so I will not do that. I was disappointed by the contribution of Nanaia Mahuta, who chose to play politics on this issue. She was way off line with her facts and for someone who seemed to fly in from nowhere in the select committee deliberations, which I cannot recall her sitting in, I thought that her contribution—

Hon Darren Hughes: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. If the member is so concerned about tikanga he might care to reflect on the Standing Orders stating that members cannot refer to the absence or presence of members in the House or in select committee proceedings.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Eric Roy): The member is quite right. I did not pick up that the member who was speaking had done that. I was still engaging with the points he was making in relation to the debate. The member must not refer to the absence of any member.

Hon John Carter: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think there may have been a misrepresentation by the member who made the point of order. The fact was that the member on his feet was not referring to the absence of someone currently on the select committee, but to a historical select committee process. That is quite a different issue and the point of order needs to be taken in that context, as I understand it.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Eric Roy): It is out of order to refer to the absence of a member from a select committee. I have made the caution, and I ask the member to continue.

PAUL QUINN: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker Roy. The honourable member from the other side of the Chamber has drawn attention, even more so, to the fact that the contribution of Nanaia Mahuta was very poor indeed, leading him to support it in some way. It demonstrated a clear misunderstanding of the issues discussed and the excellent work done by my colleague Te Ururoa Flavell. She called him a negotiator when, in fact, he facilitated a very tight process following the very untidy issues left by the previous administration. That deserves credit.

One of the things I want to highlight here is that this is the second of three bills put together by the previous administration in the rush of its dying days to pass some Treaty settlement legislation. It left a lot of loose ends that of themselves may well have appeared small, but the reality is that they were very contentious. We saw that in the last settlement bill that went through this House, the Port Nicholson settlement in respect of Ngāti Poneke, and we have seen it again in this one. My learned colleague Te Ururoa Flavell has outlined in a lot more detail the technical aspects around that settlement. The reality is that there had to be some work done. A considerable number of people were concerned about one particular aspect of the bill, and his support in working through those issues to get agreement with all the parties concerned deserves mention. I think, also, the genuineness with which Ngāti Whakauē, Tūhourangi, and Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa entered into the spirit of cooperation to resolve this particular issue also deserves recording.

I also take the opportunity in this second reading to thank the chairman of the Māori Affairs Committee, who guided us through this thorny issue, keeping in contact with the Minister and trying to find a pathway through. I think the work he was able to achieve in pacing the committee to ensure a solution was reached reflects well on him. With those few words I do not have much more to add other than to commend this settlement to the House. I look forward to debating the technical aspects during the course of the Committee stage. Thank you.

KELVIN DAVIS (Labour) : Te mea tuatahi māku, e mihi kau atu ki a koutou e ngā whanaunga i takahia mai te huarahi mai i Te Arawa. Ka nui ngā mihi atu ki a koutou i tae mai ki konei ki raro i te maru o tēnei tuanui hei whakarongo ki te pānuitanga tuarua o tēnei pire. Nā reira, tēnā rā koutou.

[The first thing for me is to extend fond greetings to you, the relatives who travelled here from Te Arawa. I appreciate your presence greatly beneath the haven of this roof as you listen to the second reading of this bill. Therefore, greetings to you, indeed.]

Being a new member, I found it an immensely humbling experience to be part of the Māori Affairs Committee, which heard the submissions on the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill. We flew up to Rotorua, there was a packed house, and we heard a number of emotional submissions regarding this bill. It is indeed an honour and, as I say, humbling. There was also a bit of sadness in realising the extent to which our iwi have been deprived of their lands over the last 200 or so years. Our whanaunga from Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakauē, and Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao in the day would have owned all the land—[Interruption]—much of the land that we could see as we were flying into Rotorua airport. But we saw that we were talking about a very small parcel of land. It is a story that has been repeated across Aotearoa in all iwi. It is very sad to see that this has happened over and over again, but it is also a joy to be part of a select committee that is looking to return land to our iwi.

When I go to Rotorua in my role as tourism spokesperson for Labour I see everything that is on offer around Whakarewarewa Village and its surrounds. It brings to mind the reason why tourists come to New Zealand. They come to experience our landscapes—and Rotorua has beautiful and unique landscapes—and they come to experience our culture. What binds our landscapes and our culture together is our people. The people of this area are not just telling their story; they are living the story. They are living their story and they are sharing it with the world. For that I thank them.

A number of people have spoken about the technical side of this bill and I, too, will go over it. The Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill gives effect to the deed to introduce vesting legislation in relation to the Whakarewarewa land and the Roto-a-Tamaheke Reserve signed on 5 August 2008 by the Hon Dr Michael Cullen, the Hon Parekura Horomia, and the Hon Damien O’Connor on behalf of the Crown, and representatives of Ngāti Whakauē, Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, and Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa. In simple language this bill enables the transfer of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs Reserve and the Arikikapakapa Reserve currently vested in the Crown to Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa Trust. This means the iwi partners of Ngāti Whakauē and Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao collectively will become the landowners of this area. For clarity, the area comprises the Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs Reserve, the Southern Arikikapakapa Reserve, and the Roto-a-Tamaheke Reserve. These lands surround Whakarewarewa Village.

The village itself has always been in Māori ownership and is not affected by the bill. The lands include the Pōhutu Geyser and other iconic tourist attractions. As agreed by the iwi parties, the Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs Reserve and the Roto-a-Tamaheke Reserve will transfer from Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa trustees to the Whakarewarewa joint trust the day after the affiliate Te Arawa iwi and hapū legislation passes. The bill recognises the cultural, traditional, historical, and spiritual importance of this area to the iwi. The Whakarewarewa joint trust has been established for the purpose of administering these lands, as well as providing for the more generalised interests of all New Zealanders. It is really important to note that all New Zealanders can enjoy the wonders of this small piece of land.

The bill continues the positive progress made by iwi across the Bay of Plenty region in strengthening the Crown-Māori relationship through both Treaty settlements and contemporary initiatives like this one, and I applaud everybody who has been part of making this happen. My genuine hope is that we can settle these land issues as quickly as possible, so that iwi can have the land returned to them and we can set about being successful as Māori with our taonga intact—or as intact as they can be considering the amount of land that we have lost over the years. The lands will retain their recreation and reserved status under the Reserves Act 1977, the leases to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute will continue, and the protections of conservation values contained within the Reserves Act will remain.

A large number of hapū and iwi entities were involved in this initiative, representing a diverse range of interests. This meant that the negotiations for the transfer of these lands were always going to require the determination, goodwill, and generosity of those iwi and hapū representatives. The bill represents more than a simple land transfer from the Crown to Māori, subject to the provisions of the Reserves Act 1977. The wider motivations for the Crown and iwi negotiators included an agreement to vest the fee simple estate in those reserve lands outside the Treaty settlement process. By doing so, the mana of the land of the people of Ngāti Whakauē and Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao will be recognised, and a stronger relationship can continue to be built.

As we have heard, some submitters requested that Tūhourangi and Ngāti Wāhiao not be coupled together, but that they instead be represented separately. They felt that their mana whenua and rangatiratanga status over the Whakarewarewa Valley land were quite separate. The reference to the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao affiliate of Te Pūmautanga is well established and has been accepted by the Crown throughout the various mandating processes managed since 2003 by the Kaihoutū Executive Council and Te Pūmautanga. Although the bill could be amended to reflect a decoupling of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, this would not properly address the concerns of submitters and it would affect the underlying relationships between the Crown and Te Pūmautanga, and between Te Pūmautanga and its affiliates. An amendment to the trust deed to allow decoupling would require a unanimous resolution of the trustees, a general meeting of the beneficiaries to approve the trustees’ resolution, and an approval resolution passed by a majority each of Ngāti Whakauē and Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao present at that meeting. The Māori Affairs Committee did not consider it appropriate to use legislation to provide for separate representation in relation to the bill, because the decision of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao to form a single affiliate of the joint trust Te Pūmautanga was made by iwi members through a mandating process.

I acknowledge again the people from Te Arawa who have come to listen to this debate on the second reading of this bill. I thank them for their patience over the time taken for this settlement to draw to its conclusion. I sincerely hope that the return of this land enables Te Arawa whānui, Ngāti Wāhiao - Tūhourangi, and Ngāti Whakauē to forge ahead for the benefit of all members of the iwi, so that they may continue to move ahead as an iwi for the benefit of ngā whakatupuranga kei te haere mai. Nā reira, huri noa i te Whare, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

TODD McCLAY (National—Rotorua) : It is a pleasure to rise to speak on the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill today and to take part in this debate as the member of Parliament for Rotorua. I want to recognise for a moment the people of Te Arawa who have travelled from Rotorua to be here today. It is a significant day. I say kia ora to them. They are very welcome here; this is their House.

I recognise that a lot of progress has been made in a very short period of time, and that the agreement locally and in this House has been possible only because of the commitment of a number of people. In saying so, I recognise the leaders, those who are mandated to negotiate, and those who offered the mandate to iwi in Rotorua to recognise Ngāti Whakauē, Tūhourangi, and Ngāti Wāhiao. I recognise Te Ururoa Flavell, the member of Parliament who represents this area, and John Clarke for their work, and I also acknowledge the previous Government, which started this work. It is important for us in Rotorua to recognise the work of those who have played an important part in getting us to where we are at today.

The land that we are talking about as part of this process is an important part of Rotorua’s history. It is the basis for Rotorua’s culture, and it is an important part of Rotorua’s future. I also recognise and remember that people lived on this land long before the city of Rotorua was founded. The Whakarewarewa Valley and its surrounding land is beautiful, and in light of my visits there, I say that the valley is as rich as the people of this land are generous. I recognise the great welcome that my colleagues and I have always received when going to that part of Rotorua. I was there earlier this year with our Prime Minister, John Key, and we visited Te Puia. Quite exceptional things have always happened in this valley, and the situation today is no different from that. I also had a wonderful opportunity earlier this year to visit the Whakarewarewa Village on Waitangi Day, when the gates were open for thousands of people to come and celebrate that great day for New Zealand, and also to learn about culture and history. It was a privilege for me to be there. I believe that all the people of Rotorua will share in the benefit of this land transfer. I acknowledge the importance of this debate today and what it will mean when this legislation passes into law.

Often we focus too much on the past and look too much behind us, but I will address for a moment the opportunity that this bill will provide. I recognise the importance of tourism, and of Māori tourism in particular, and the role that this valley will play in empowering the local people. Many, many years ago on this land in Rotorua lived a guide who was really famous, if we read our history books—Makerete Papakura, or Guide Maggie as she was known at the time—for the work that she did at the time. Her descendants still live in this area and in this place. Guide Maggie, or Makerete, said a people is a great and living people only as it is mindful of its heritage, and this bill today is about recognising that heritage. I support this bill, and I look forward to the day when the gates between the Whakarewarewa Village and Te Puia are again open, so that people can walk freely through the valley and enjoy its great beauty as they were able to many years ago. It is a privilege to be able, as the member of Parliament for Rotorua, to support this bill. Thank you.

HEKIA PARATA (National) : Tēnā koe e te Mana Whakawā, huri noa i tō tātou Whare, tēnā koutou katoa. Huri hoki aku mihi ki a koutou, e tautoko ana i ngā mihi kua mihia ki a koutou Te Arawa waka i hara mai nei mai i Te Puku o Te Whenua ki Te Upoko, ki te whakarongo i ngā kōrero e pā ana ki te whānuitanga o te pire i tēnei wā. Ā, e tautoko ana i runga i tōku whare tamariki, aku tamāhine me ō rāua honotanga ki ngā kāwai whakapapa o Te Arawa. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā rawa atu koutou.

[Greetings to you, Mr Assistant Speaker, and to you all throughout our House, greetings. My acknowledgments turn to you, as well, who supported the greetings bestowed upon you, those of the canoe of Te Arawa, who travelled from the Abdomen of the Land to the Head, to listen to speeches relating to the bill broadly at this stage. And I endorse that because of my children, my daughters, and their genealogical ties to Te Arawa. Greetings, greetings, and fond greetings to you collectively.]

I stand to speak in support of the second reading of the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill. I acknowledge both the previous Minister of Māori Affairs, the Hon Parekura Horomia, and our current Minister of Māori Affairs, the Hon Dr Pita Sharples, as well as the Māori Affairs Committee members who have worked together on this bill to bring it to this stage of its consideration. Many speakers before me have already rehearsed the details that are contained within the bill, so I shall not do that again. But I will talk about the core purpose of this bill, which is to restore mana whenua. Its purpose is to provide a base back to the people to whom this whenua belongs and to whom it has always belonged. That is so, whether or not there was legal title or recognition, because it is through the actual lineage that there is relationship with that land. The purpose is so that we might start to see again the practice of rangatiratanga.

We can talk all we like about rangatiratanga, whether of the tino variety or the ordinary variety, but unless we have whenua, and we have whānau, hapū, and iwi connected with that whenua, we really are talking only. So I am delighted that this bill, the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill, takes another step towards that, because it is important that iwi—and the ones we are talking about today are Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi, and Ngāti Wāhiao—are able to govern and manage their own affairs, to work in the development of their own whenua and own businesses, and to create wealth for themselves and for their future. That is what is important, in part, about the restoration of this mana whenua.

We have seen not only in the bill itself but in the processes around it that the objective of the Crown and the iwi in this legislation is to engage in a healthy relationship, and that is a very important thing for this House and for Te Arawa. It is equally important that the iwi themselves are able to engage in relationships with each other, with their hapū, and with their whānau, and I think the bill provides certain procedures to ensure that that occurs. But the real work will be done by Te Arawa people themselves, because members of Te Arawa must go on and live with, continue to invest whakapapa relationships in—intermarry and have children—and go on to create the stories of the future around that whenua. Even though it is important that there is a Crown-iwi relationship, it is almost more important that there are iwi to iwi and hapū to hapū relationships. I hope the procedures set out in the bill are simply that, and that the real work is done amongst and between the people.

I will respectfully disagree with our colleague from the other side of the House who talked about the concerns around the involvement of the member for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell, in this process. It is entirely appropriate that the Minister of Māori Affairs should place so much importance on getting these matters right that he asks a member of this Parliament, and therefore a representative of the Crown, to be involved in Crown-iwi relationships. I acknowledge the facilitation work carried out by my colleague Te Ururoa Flavell, and I acknowledge the Minister of Māori Affairs for considering that it was of such importance that he should ask a member of this House to be involved.

As I have already said—and I will not talk for very much longer on this bill—I think it is important that we have the opportunity to practise rangatiratanga with mana over our whenua for all of our people so that we might build our own businesses, create our own wealth, and practise the self-determination that I understand to be at the core of rangatiratanga. I am delighted to stand in support of the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill. Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēna koutou, kia ora tātou katoa.

  • Bill read a second time.