Submissions to Maori Affairs Select Commiittee Against the Waitara Lands Bill


hearing_2_1479435872555.jpgManukorihi Hapu o Waitara Submission
We oppose the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill in its entirety and would like all the Lands be returned to the Hapu o Whaitara at no cost and with no strings attached. We request that this Bill not be reported back to the House. Our main concern in relation to the Bill: The land was stolen: Hoki mai Te Whenua, therefore return it. At a recent hui, a question was asked, what do you do when you steal something? A child replied, “You give it back”. Do the right thing: Give the land back.

Te Rau Aroha Watene Taungatara Denness Submission
I support the view of Te Rangitaake (Wiremu Kingi) that the Waitara should be returned to tangata whenua. It is 2016 and the right thing should be done even at this late date. I wish to be heard.

Otaraua Hapu Submission
We believe this Bill reflects institutional racism, specifically by excluding us as Hapu with Mana Whenua status and permanently alienating our whenua from being returned.

Puketapu Hapu Submission
We support Otaraua and Manukorihi Hapu in their Opposition of this Bill. The Waitara Lands should be returned unencumbered and the Maori Select committee need to work out a way that the NPDC and TRC can return these lands free of charge or condition, to the Waitara Hapu.

masc-bodger.jpgPatsy Bodger, Manukorihi Hapu oral submission
The position of the Manukorihi hapu regarding the return of the Pekapeka block has always been clear as it was to our tupuna. We will never be distracted from that point of view. We are not interested in money. We see beyond the leases. The whenua is the most important thing. During the Treaty negotiation process we were asked, time and time again, what we wanted from the settlement. And we always responded by saying "Return the land. Hoki mai te whenua."

Peter Moeahu Submission
Council did not advocate that the land be additional to the Treaty settlement quantum. Instead it actively pursued a ransom demand of $23 million from the Te Atiawa quantum. I say ransom because council held our land captive but were prepared to release it back to us for $23 million. The phrase "speaking with forked tongue" comes to mind. [...] Te Atiawa turned down the NPDC Waitara land offer for $23 million because it was unfair,unjust and wrong.

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Appendix: 2003 Submission to NPDC by Manukorihi Pa Trustees
Appendix: 2003 Letters of Support from Sir Paul Reeves and Sir Geoffrey Palmer
Appendix: 2003 Newspaper reports of NPDC Waitara Lands Decision

Peter Moeahu Oral Submission
This Bill casts a shadow over us all. It is the shadow of evil. It is the shadow of the Taranaki confiscation line still piercing the heart of my people. It is the shadow of murder, rape, humiliation, sorrow, pain, tears, hatred, greed, sadness, death, pillage, wickedness, slavery, destruction, grieving, plunder, racism and madness. And in this shadow lie the wounded souls of my people, and of my great-grandfather Tamati Whanganui, my grandfather Pehimana Tamati and my uncle Rongomaiira Tamati.

Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust Submission
Te Kotahitanga Trustees engaged with NPDC in good faith to work through the high level principles upon which the proposal for the Bill had been developed. However, it was clear from the outset that there were significant limitations on what Te Kotahitanga could achieve through this engagement, as a decision by NPDC as to what land would be available for transfer has been made prior to the Heads of Agreement being signed.
[...] The decision of Te Kotahitanga to oppose the Bill, following good faith engagement with NPDC on its high level principles, was not a decision made lightly. As such, our submission sets out our views based on the following rationale: A. Te Atiawa people deserve to have more land returned; B. The Waitara community deserves certainty and prosperity; and C. New Zealand deserves to know the truth about Waitara.

Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki Oral Submission
It is not helpful to forget our past. Whaitara has been earmarked by colonial imperialist history to be marginalised and to be fragmented, lost and confused culturally, socially and economically because our Tūpuna initiated a passive resistance movement – meaning resistance to government, law etc without violence by fasting, by demonstrating, and by refusing to cooperate. The passive resistance movement of Taranaki originated from Whaitara when Te Rangitake sent the women out to pull up the survey pegs. Thus began Te Pahua Tuatahi – Te Pahua o Whaitara – the plunder of Whaitara.

Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki Submission 
There have been hundreds of thousands of hectares of land confiscated from Māori in Aotearoa/NZ however the blatant theft of the Pekapeka block of land should perhaps sit at the pinnacle of the list of festering scabs in our country. Because the sinful theft of these lands has been benignly packaged by successive Governments and Local Councils as endowment it allows people to relegate the iniquitous morality of the original sin to the recesses of their mind, a form of wilful amnesia. But the continued and ongoing sin is by the NPDC. The Councils latest attempt to ‘gobble de gook’ it even further with this Bill, which is almost incomprehensible to a lay person, and it is quite simply immoral and cruel for the NPDC to put forward this manipulative Bill to further dispossess the Manukorihi and Otaraua hapū of their lands.

pihamaathearing.jpgDr Leonie Pihama Submission
The Bill will remove any hope or realisation of the aspirations of our tupuna that is encapsulated in the saying ‘I riro whenua atu, me hoki whenua mai’. Many generations of those of us that have lived on the Pekapeka Block have waited patiently for the return of those lands to our people. We have watched the struggle and pain of those who have had to lease lands back from those that represent the colonial forces that confiscated the lands of our ancestors. It is critical that this Bill be halted and that the Crown, the Council and hapū and iwi representatives resume discussions in regards to the return of these lands to mana whenua.

Donna Eriwata Submission
If the Crown sees fit to go ahead with this Bill, the Crown along with Te Atiawa Iwi Authority and Te Kotahitanga O Te Atiawa will again commit an illegal transaction against Waitara Hapu which in turn will NOT reconcile the wrongs the Crown committed back in the 1800s.

LynneTonyVivian.jpgCommunity Taranaki Trustees Oral Submission
For many Pakeha who live here in Taranaki, our desire for peace and reconciliation is not driven by being “politically correct”, or just being ashamed of our past and the actions of our grand-parents. It is not even driven by an ideological desire to be better “allies” to Maori, or better Treaty Partners. It is driven more simply by the realization that ... after all this time, and despite the troubled history ... a great many Maori and Pakeha have become friends. We live as neighbours. And in some cases, we are now relations. And yet in this context, we also know that the art of our friendship, the craft of our community-building, and the tone of our intimacy ... is constantly under the shadow of these old injustices and the ongoing privileges and the disadvantages that have resonated in our shared lives right through to the present day. After six generations, there are many Taranaki people who understand that none of us can build authentic communities here on the back of the unresolved grief that is still surrounding the stolen Waitara lands.

Community Taranaki Submission
The Waitara Lands Bill before you is nowhere near an instrument of doing the right thing. It is simply the perverse result of having the same conversation again, again and again. This is the conversation that speaks of the money that is still to be made at this final leg of a very old landgrab. It speaks of deal-making and how to weigh up the various players and competing interests, and how to extract compromise from the weakest participants. And it speaks of how to continue to avoid facing our real history, and the grief and trauma that still exists as a result of that history. Our advice to this Select Committee is to stop and to step back. We need a new conversation about the Waitara Lands.

ProfDavidWilliams.jpgProfessor David V. Williams Submission
Harbour boards and local government entities in Taranaki have benefitted hugely over many decades from endowed lands that were wrongly, unfairly and unlawfully confiscated from hapū in the 1860s. There is no good reason for local government entities to continue to reap rewards from the endowed land assets and there is even less reason for those entities to obtain unearned capital gains from the freeholding of leasehold lands over which they should never have had a legal interest in the first place. If the land was wrongly taken, then the most obvious starting point for a peace and reconciliation conversation in our own time should be to find a way to return the lands to those from whom they were taken.

Tamaki Treaty Workers Submission
In addition to retaining ownership of the land itself, the local council and the public have had over 140 years of lease payments for these lands used for the benefit of Waitara. Nowhere in the Bill is this level of generosity recognised, acknowledged or compensated for. The fact that a calculation of the amount has not been undertaken and full provenance not completed, shows that this has been taken for granted.

Tamaki Treaty Workers Oral Submission
When communicating to the public about the betterment they will receive from the funds from the sales of the stolen land, NPDC is not communicating what benefits they have already received.

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Submission
This is iconic land, where the Crown launched the New Zealand Wars, the start of a tragic period of loss and dispossession. It is crucially important that the injustices of that time are not repeated in the present day, and the opportunity should instead be taken to provide a resolution to the confiscation of land. Since the land was stolen, we believe with Manukorihi and Otaraua that it should simply be returned.

masc-Lynne.jpgNew Zealand Association of Psychotherapists Submission
Reconciliation, genuine peace and goodwill are not possible when decisions made are only based on the majority view point without dialogue with minorities, a clear understanding of their cultural perspectives, historical experiences and empathy for their suffering. We believe that the original decision made to confiscate the land, then to lease the lands and make money from them have broken the Treaty partnership and dishonoured both Pakeha and Maori in the process.

Sue Comrie Oral Submission
There has been a lot of effort put into the submission of "further information" for this committee by the TRC and the NPDC. Sixteen pages were released yesterday after the meeting in Wellington. Much work detailing why the Pekapeka block should NOT be given back to the true owners. Imagine if all this work had started from the correct position, that THE LAND WILL BE RETURNED. And then all that effort and detail had been applied to that end. What great reading that would have been. And what a great result for everyone, the right approach, the ethical and moral outcome, to return what has been stolen to the rightful owners as they wish it to be and is their right.

Alice_Doorbar.jpgAlice Doorbar Submission
I totally oppose the Waitara Land Bill for many reasons. Most importantly because during the time that I spent with my grandmother I was always made aware of the fact that our land was stolen and that somehow or other we would do whatever we could to get it back. My grandmother died in 1949. Both my mother and father spoke of the return somehow or other we have to get our land back, my mother died in 1969 and my father in 1981. I am the next generation alive as are my sons grandchildren and great grand children, they have been taught of the theft and loss of our Waitara land, we will never go away, we will never stop at whatever chance to have our land here in Waitara returned to us Otaraua, and others, the rightful owners of Waitara. This is the first chance since 1860 that we have even been close to having this land returned, please dont take this opportunity away from us. Once the land is made freehold it will be lost to us forever.

The Whanau of Moki White Oral Submission
This land was illegally acquired by the Crown. We have never relinquished our ownership of these lands. Throughout the Treaty negotiation process, we were very clear that we wanted the confiscated lands of Waitara to be returned. When it became apparent that the lands would not be included in the package we walked away from the negotiating table. When we did this, we did not relinquish our claim to Waitara: this was our vote against the settlement and consistent with the tikanga of our ancestors. The Te Atiawa settlement now includes $23 million dollars for the confiscated land of Waitara. This decision was made without our consent. Our lands are our whenua; our whenua is beyond monetary value. We will not settle until the lands are returned.

owae_marae.jpgThe Whanau of Moki White Submission
We do not accept, or trust, that these investments in Waitara will address the consequences of the confiscation; inter-generational poverty and severe economic depression among our people. Most critically, the proposed bill will make it impossible to ever rectify the true cause of the issues of Waitara. The bill will break our lands into individual title. Our neighbours will replace the Crown as the face of this injustice. The Waitara Lands Bill means that our lands will be lost to us forever. This Bill will ensure that our wounds are never healed.

Awhina Cameron Submission
During the consultation and submission phase leading up to this Bill, not entirely unsurprisingly, I have watched how two of the primary victims of this injustice (the Waitara hapu of Manukorihi and Otaraua) have been marginalised, their perspective and their pain minimised to the point where during council hearings their NO, their complete opposition to the intended Bill was reframed by one council member to be a “reluctant yes”. Whilst not a linguistic scholar, my comprehension of the English language is fairly good: no means no.

Veronica Tawhai Submission
This proposed Bill in its current form would not only fail to meet the objectives of redress committed to by the Crown in its expectation of reconciliation, but will also cause further injury and itself constitute another grievance to be addressed in future, with all the strain and harm that the process of resolution itself brings.

Emily Tuhi-Ao Bailey Submission
I believe my life, like many others, was affected by the confiscation of the lands to which this proposed bill refers. When you take a people's resource base out from under them they are left to drift in a state of extreme depression, poverty, powerlessness
and anger. To cut a long story short, I think all the land needs to be returned to hapu with no strings attached except that the crown and council need to assist the hapu with resolving conflicts with current residents and lease holders.

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David Rogers Submission
Regretfully no honourable offer of the Pekapeka Block was made through recent settlement negotiations between Te Atiawa Settlement Trust and the Crown. Even recognising the unjust acts of the Crown acquiring the Pekapeka block through the Simms Commission in 1927 and the Waitangi Tribunal findings and most recently the New Plymouth District Councils acknowledgement to facilitate the opportunity for the return of the Councils leasehold land “…in all circumstances was the right thing to do”.

Moana Denness Submission
I cannot fully support the Bill as it is, without changes that take into account all leaseholders as well as the tangata whenua.

Norah Puketapu Collins Submission
We are asking the Select Committee to direct the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) to meet with and undertake genuine dialogue with the Manukorihi and Otaraua hapū about the stolen Pekapeka lands and that the NPDC put a stop to its ongoing shameful and disrespectful conduct in attempting to further alienate the Pekapeka from both hapū.

Fiona Clark, Te Ara o Pekapeka Trust Submission
This issue is not complicated. This is not an issue for the community at large to benefit - it is an issue for Te iwi o te wahi kore.

Talia Ellison Submission
Whenua can be translated as land or placenta. This is because when a child is born the placenta is returned to the land as a promise that you will return in death to sustain the land as it has sustained you. Allowing successive generations to be further disconnected from their whenua in an area of the country that essentially experienced genocide is akin to removing our nations war memorials and selling the land because it is convenient. The bones of my tipuna lie in the land that this Bill wishes to sell, their bones are a monument to the reciprocal relationship that they shared with the land, a relationship that I have never had and a relationship that those after me will never have should this Bill become an Act of Parliament.

jocelyn_millard2.pngJocelyn Millard Submission
The Treaty Settlements were about the Crown making redress for breaches of the Treaty with iwi. Now the Councils have the opportunity to provide restoration of the stolen property by giving back the lands directly to the rightful owners, to help 'restore' community to its original state and begin to heal Taranaki history and Whaitara.

Jocelyn Millard Oral Submission
I am here to strongly urge you to find a way to not simply reject this Bill but to find a way within the labyrinth of systems within te whare paremata to have the government take ownership and responsibility to make a more durable, honourable and meaningful remedy towards healing and true justice here in Whaitara.

Chona Telford Submission
The Bill was to be an advantage to all leaseholders, however this will cause disparity and inequality in the low socio-economic community. For example: whanau who cannot purchase their land due to financial constraints will fall victim to property developers. This Bill is an individual gain. As a Hapu member and an original owner I make no commitment to this promise.

Patricia Porter Submission
My request is for the land to be returned to Hapu, the rightful owners within the Waitara rohe as history books dictates it as stolen land.

Ngatiawa Whanau Otaraua Submission
Ngatiawa Whanau Otaraua opposes this bill as it will exacerbate current treaty grievances. It is deceitful in its attempt to provide council with provisional ownership rights and an ability to transfer and dispose of land that was never theirs.

Teremoana Porter Submission
I would like to see a phased return of Waitara Lands back to the Hapu of Te Atiawa over next 7yrs. At no cost to them, and with no strings attached.

The Simpson Whanau Submission
We are asking Parliament to set aside these lease lands, which must include Pekapeka Block in Whaitara until the iwi/hapu are satisfied that their grievances are fully settled.

masc-rap.jpgGlen Bennett Submission
The first shots of the New Zealand Land Wars were fired as a direct result of this land that the bill is about. Therefore it holds a significant place in the history, present and future of New Zealand. Because of this fact, the bill should not progress, rather conversations should be had and decisions made with all parties directly effected, as well as indirectly effected - as to how a way forward can be found with all people. This will be painful, but the long term benefits for all New Zealanders will be significant.

Kiterangi Cameron Submission
There is a lot more work to be done in this area to ensure the people of Waitara and in particular nga uri o nga hapu o Te Atiawa can be shown a fair process and response to an historical wrong by the New Plymouth District Council, the Taranaki Regional Council and the Government of New Zealand.

Michael Davy Submission
We now arrive at the most recent and final act of New Plymouth council wishing to sell the leasehold land in perpetuity to the modern settlers. I must say it seems unfair not only to the Maori but to my forebear ( Captain Leyson Hopkin Davy) who sacrificed this opportunity of land title in the name of peace nearly 170 years ago. We relinquished on the basis that it was the Maoris land, for them to own and manage. Not to be sold again later to other settlers.

Douglas Puke Submission
As a descendant of Manukorihi Hapü, Te Ätiawa Iwi, I believe that this Bill will prevent any true and just resolution to the Te Ätiawa Treaty Settlement Claim. I acknowledge that Te Kotahitanga o Te Ätiawa has supported the Bill in principle with a number of concerns about specific clauses at the local body submissions process, however, it is well documented and evidenced that both Manukorihi and Otaraua Hapü disagree with their stance on the Bill.

Dr Stuart Bramhall Submission
There is no natural justice in a process that allows government entities to steal the land of indigenous people and sell it on for profit. The ancient title of iwi and to this land needs to be acknowledged. The land title on Waitara property that continues as leasehold needs to be transferred to the hapu it was stolen from, and any proceeds accruing from sale of property to leaseholders needs to accrue to the hapu it was stolen from.

Sue Comrie Submission
As a Pakeha I say please let justice be done where it can be, to repair ourselves as a nation and show acknowledgment and care for ALL of our people so that we can go forward together knowing we all matter, we all have worth and merit. Maori need to see this demonstrated at every opportunity by the powers that be. Of all the places in New Zealand where this should happen, it should happen here, where the first shots were fired to crush Maori. The symbolic value of returning this particular piece of land is immeasurable. The justice and rightness of it will be felt throughout the whole country, on down through the years.

hikoi1.jpgNganeko Eriwata Submission
The history of Waitara needs a solution that empowers our people. We the 7th generation are concern as well as stand beside our elders to settle the rightful return of the land with no ties. For 7 generations the council has made its money off its land. The treaty promise the land was to return and yet the bill which I oppose against wagers a financial exchange for stolen property.

Te Rukutia Ricole Tongaawhikau Submission
It is simply ridiculous that council believe it is justified in selling land that they do not own.

Urs Signer Submission
The land was confiscated in the 1860s. It is stolen property and needs to be returned to the rightful owners. The land should be returned to the hapü and whänau of Waitara. The confiscation goes against the Treaty of Waitangi, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and various international treaties that New Zealand has signed. The return of the land is the only thing that comes anywhere close to what one could describe 'justice'.

Allissea White Submission
I oppose the Waitara Land Bill, I take my role as Kaitiaki very seriously. I don't believe in the selling of hapu land, that our tupuna fought long and hard for, even still to this day. As a rangatahi of Waitara I believe that our generation and generations after us should be able to have access to our heritage our land, and that it should NOT be sold off.

Cherry Smith Submission
The way forward is to return the land to the Waitara people from who it was illegally taken from, this is not currently impossible or implausible. If the land is returned, there will be many paths that the community of Waitara can move forward upon together (tangata whenua, leaseholders and the community). If this Bill goes ahead, there is a way forward for some, but not others; in fact there will be more grief, sorrow and loss for some, while others move on. How can this help our town, our people?

Mihipai Tutaki Doorbar Submission
I oppose the Waitara land bill and the sale of our Whenua. Hei aha te putea, kua riro whenua atu, whakahoki whenua mai.

Moana Claudia Te Kirikaihopi Ward Submission
I strongly oppose the selling of hapu land. The land which our Tupuna fought so long and hard for. I want my children to be able to have access to our whenua and to inherit the knowledge of our tipuna.

waitara_and_mountain.jpgAnnie Rogers Submission
Māori have been significantly disadvantaged and adversely impacted by the confiscation of their land. The damage is emotional, physical, and spiritual. The confiscation of land through violence and legislation has left an enduring legacy of trauma and pain over many generations. That costly legacy is tangible in the discrepancy of health outcomes in New Zealand between Māori and Pākehā. Returning the land to the rightful owners can begin the process of healing the pain experienced by generations of Māori through disconnection from their land and place of belonging.

Marion Sanson Submission
The Bill ought not to proceed. Instead, the Select Committee might take the step of asking the parties to try a practice which Quakers use in our business proceedings; that of continuing to listen to each other, to discuss and allow more time for a solution which is right and in unity.

Katrina Rukuwai Submission
The Waitara Leasehold lands should be returned to Te Atiawa not offered for them to buy back. Te Atiawa are the rightful and original owners.

Graeme Porter Submission
The Bill and the policy are fostering conflict in the community and will actively disenfranchise and dis-empower Hapu/Whanau

Carol Shenton Submission
I oppose the bill on the basis that the lands were stolen, and as such should be returned directly to the hapu who they were stolen from, not a representative of.

Ross Loader Submission
During this whole process one group has been largely ignored. The Waitara Maori who had the land stolen off them originally. They have been let down by the Te Atiawa negotiators, the New Plymouth District Council, the Government, & the Waitara citizens who live on the leased lands. The Lessees can be understood as they have a personal stake in having lived on the land for many years in most cases. This doesn't obscure the fact that the land was stolen in the first place. The land should be returned to the original owners, free of any constraints except the lease conditions remaining the same. This town can't be whole until this happens.

Hikoi_Waitara.jpgCarole Keane Submission
Pekapeka block was confiscated by the Government wrongfully and the tangata whenua have been waiting a very long time to have this resolved. It will never be resolved if the Waitara Land Bill is passed.

Denny Kumeroa Submission
Give their land back, it was never legally consented to by the iwi so give it back.

Eddie Behan- Kitto Submission
In my mind there is only one course of action available and that is to hand it back to the original owners who are indefatigable, honourable and certainly as history has shown unconquerable.

Sara Parsons Submission
Lands confiscated from the Taranaki Iwi should be returned to the Taranaki Iwi. It is wrong to take away land and hold it and then give the land to another authority. This is unjust.

Iris-Moana Ward Submission
This land was stolen from the Hapu of Waitara. It should be returned to the Hapu of Waitara, no strings attached.

Kura Wijnschenk Submission
I oppose this bill and recommend it be returned to the tangata whenua.

Lillian Williamson Submission
I riro whenua atu, me hoki whenua mai. This bill does not bring redress for Te Ätiawa, nor does it protect lease holders from foreign investors. This bill serves to perpetuate the violence of the land wars. Tangata whenua should not be begging for land scraps and nor should they have to purchase their own confiscated lands back. Te Ätiawa should be handed the deed for all lease lands and have the authority to make their own decisions as to how they will administer them.

Taylor Morfett Submission
Our land has been stolen and we have been stripped of our culture for many years. My generation and many before me didn't fight for our land to be settled in a settlement, and divided.

hikoi5.jpgNiki Shewry Submission
I 100% support the full return of stolen lands back to tangata whenua.

Tiara Puke Submission
The land should be returned to the original owners Te atiawa Nui tonu. The written documents of that time shows clearly the land was stolen from the people unlawfully.

Ria Julian Submission
My belief is the proposed Bill does not benefit the concerned hapu and iwi. As history depicts the land in question was originally confiscated by the Crown from the Waitara Hapu therefore the land should be out-rightly returned to its rightful owners. The Bill will not heal the trauma and pain experienced by the hapu; it will continue to divide the community of Waitara and the trauma and pain will carry on through generations.

Nioka Behan-Kitto Submission
As kaitiaki of the land we are here to protect our whenua and i will never stop fighting for what is right. I want my daughter to be able to speak of the mana of our whenua and to inherit the knowledge of our tipuna, and be able to hand it down to her kids and grandchildren.

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