The first reading of the Heretaunga Tamatea Claims Settlement Bill signifies history in the making today for the hapū of Heretaunga Tamatea in Hawke’s Bay.
“You could say that this is the beginning of the end of our settlement process,” says He Toa Takitini chairman David Tipene-Leach.
A large contingent of Kahungunu whānau made the trip down to Wellington to witness the bills first reading in Parliament.
“The main thing is that this has been a very very long time in the making. Our ancestors have been knocking on the door of the Pākehā to admit their mistakes. So, we are very close to putting that all to rest,” says Tipene-Leach.
The historical grievances began in the 1840s, where chiefs of Heretaunga Tamatea invited the Crown to acquire land in their region in return for economic opportunities from the European settlement.
However, what eventuated was dishonest Crown land deals that meant by the 1900s approximately 1.2 million acres out of 1.4 million acres of Heretaunga Tamatea land had passed from Māori ownership.
The massive loss of land left hapū socially, economically and culturally deprived during the twentieth century.