Ngāti Awa has a long history of attempting to seek redress from the Crown for the raupatu, the subsequent compensation process and the impact of Native land laws. The first Ngāti Awa petition was sent to the Crown in 1867.
In 1980, the confederation of Ngāti Awa hapū agreed to establish the first Trust Board, to be named Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, as a Charitable Trust. The Rūnanga was established as the mandated body to seek redress for Ngāti Awa claims to the Crown. The Rūnanga was established as a Māori Trust Board under the Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Act in 1988.
Contemporary settlement negotiations with the Crown took over twenty years to complete, and during this time the Rūnanga was successful in securing the return of Ngāti Awa Farm, the Mataatua Wharenui and the Te Manuka Tutahi site in Whakatāne. The first Crown offer made in 1983 was rejected. The second offer made in 1987 was accepted as part payment towards the final settlement. The final Deed of Settlement was agreed to between the Rūnanga and the Crown in 2002 and ratified by members of Ngāti Awa through a postal ballot during 2004.
In March 2005, the Ngāti Awa Claims Settlement Act was passed, settling the long standing Treaty of Waitangi Claims and establishing the Rūnanga as a new governance body under the Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Act 2005. Since this time, the Rūnanga has also partially completed settlement of the Ngāti Awa Fisheries Claim and various other ancillary matters.
The return of Pūtauaki Maunga to Ngāti Awa has yet to be realised, although work continues on a number of fronts at this point in time.
The 2005 Settlement package included:
The cost of the Settlement to the Crown was approximately $42 million in 2005, including assets and cash transferred to the Rūnanga. Full details of the settlement package can be found in the Deed of Settlement.
The purchase of forestry assets and receipt of accumulated rentals post-settlement, enabled the Rūnanga to establish an economic base through its commercial arm Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Limited. Today, the Rūnanga has interests in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, equities and property totalling $94 million.
These commercial activities enable the Rūnanga to deliver a range of services to Ngāti Awa via its social arm Development Ngāti Awa. The office of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa also provides a number of environmental services to the iwi through Environment Ngāti Awa. The Ngāti Awa Research and Archives Trust maintains a collection of historical information relating to the iwi.
The benefits of the settlement are for all members of Ngāti Awa, wherever they may live.
All members of Ngāti Awa need to ensure that their contact details on the Ngāti Awa Register are updated as required, to ensure that they can be contacted by the Rūnanga.
© TE RŪNANGA O NGĀTI AWA 2009