NZ Human Rights Commission
Race Relations Report 2008 Tui Tui Tuituia
Te Tiriti o Waitangi: the Treaty of Waitangi
This is a summary of the Treaty of Waitangi chapter of the Human Rights Commission's annual review of race relations for 2008. The Treaty chapter is available on line from 4 February. The full report will be released in early March. Other sections of the report deal with action on diversity, discrimination, human rights, migration and settlement, language, media, religious diversity and research.
The previous year 2008 was an extraordinary one for Treaty settlements and other Treaty issues.
The most significant milestone was the completion of the Central North Island forests settlement which involved the transfer of over $400 million in forest assets and rentals to iwi, but there were many other developments. The close-off date for historical Treaty claims in September produced an unprecedented flow of over 1800 new claims. The National Partyís agreement with the Maori Party promised a review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act and New Zealandís constitutional arrangements.
The annual poll on attitudes to the Treaty revealed that around three in every five New Zealanders agree that the Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealandís founding document and that the Treaty is for all New Zealanders, the highest results since polling on attitudes to the Treaty began.
The poll conducted for the Human Rights Commission by research firm UMR found that 59% of respondents agreed that ďThe Treaty is New Zealandís founding document ď(73% of Maori) and 57% agreed that ďThe Treaty is for all New ZealandersĒ (63% of Maori). The first result is the highest since the question was first posed in 2005. The second the highest since the Commissionís Treaty attitudes polling began in 2002.
The polling also revealed however that the level of declared knowledge about the Treaty had fallen to the lowest level since 2002, with only one if three (34%) respondents saying they knew a lot about the Treaty.
The new government has a target of completing the settlement of all historical Treaty claims in the next six years, six years earlier than envisaged by the previous government. The momentum of Treaty settlements will therefore need to maintained. The reviews of the Foreshore and Seabed Act and of constitutional arrangements are other important challenges in relation to the Treaty in 2009.
Special recognition is due to former Treaty Settlements Minister Dr Michael Cullen who, together with key Maori leaders, re-energised the settlement process.
What happened in 2008?
- The National Party and the Maori Party reached a confidence and supply agreement after the general election in November. This included a review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act and of constitutional arrangements including the place of the Treaty.
- Over 1800 new claims were lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal prior to the cut-off date of 1 September
- The Waitangi Tribunal published reports on two major inquiries (He Maunga Rongo and Te Tau Ihu), with nine other inquiries in progress.
- A settlement was reached on a contemporary claim concerning the closure of Napier hospital and health services.
- Six Terms of Negotiation and five Deeds of Settlement were reached for historical claims. Bills were passed by Parliament to give effect to the Central North Island forests, Affiliate Te Arawa iwi and hapu, and Te Roroa settlements. Bills were introduced to give effect to the Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Waikato River settlements.
- One Agreement in Principle, one Terms of Negotiation and two Heads of Agreement were reached for claims under the Foreshore and Seabed Act.
- Ngai Tahu commemorated 10 years since the passing of their historic Treaty settlement.
- Fisheries settlement assets were transferred to two more iwi organisations.
- An Agreement in Principle was reached for a taiapure-local fishery off Ninety Mile Beach, and four mataitai reserves were established.
- The title of Mauao (Mount Maunganui) was transferred to three Tauranga iwi
- The Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill was introduced into Parliament.
- A public opinion survey found the number of New Zealanders who felt they had a reasonable understanding of the Treaty declined from 41 per cent to 34 per cent. Nearly 60 per cent viewed it as the founding document of New Zealand for all New Zealanders.
By the numbers
- Since 1975 the Waitangi Tribunal has registered over 1500 claims, with another 1800 plus claims received prior to the September 2008 cut-off date
- The tribunal has reported on 15 of its 37 inquiry districts, covering 71 % of the nationís land area. Adding those under or in preparation for inquiry, 73 % of districts and 89 % of the land area have been or are currently subject to tribunal inquiry.
- Treaty settlement agreements in 2008 resulted in the transfer of over $400 million to Maori claimant groups, as well as an innovative form of redress over one of the country's major waterways. To date $1,018,697 million has been committed to final and comprehensive settlements and several part settlements. This includes $19.846 million paid as claimant funding separate from the negotiated settlement redress.
- Since 1990, 26 Treaty settlements have been completed, of which 14 are comprehensive.
- Treaty settlements cover 61 per cent of the total land area of New Zealand, but only 21 per cent of the land area of the North Island to date.
- Over 20 groups are currently in active negotiations with the Crown.
- There are 57 iwi recognised in the Maori Fisheries Act 2004, of which 49 have been mandated to receive fisheries assets. Of these, 41 have also been approved as Iwi Aquaculture Organisations.
- Te Ohu Kaimoana has transferred a total of $435.7 million in cash and fisheries assets to mandated iwi organisations.
- Since 1996, eight taiapure-local fisheries have been established, including one in 2008.
- Since 1998, 10 Mataitai reserves have been established, including four in 2008.
Details of all these developments and more are set out in the full Treaty chapter of the Human Rights Commissionís Race Relations Report which can be downloaded from www.hrc.co.nz
To order resources, including the Race Relations Day 2009 poster call freephone 0800 496877 or email email@example.com
For media inquiries, contact Gilbert Wong on 09 3062660 or Kat Ryan on 09 375 8616.