History Lessons

by Desk Editor on Thursday, July 26, 2012 — 12:08 PM

MPs gave history lessons this morning as the House sat under extended hours provisions to complete treaty settlement legislation

The House initially dealt with the Maraeroa Block claims covered in the Maraeroa A and B Blocks Claims Settlement Bill and the Maraeroa A and B Blocks Incorporation Bill.

Tariana Turia explained the history of the bill.

Next up was the Ngāti Mākino Claims Settlement Bill

Tariana Turia once again explained the history.

Settlement bills throw a light on parts of New Zealand history which most New Zealanders have just the vaguest knowledge of.

From the Bill – A history of what happened to Ngati Makino

Ngāti Mākino are part of the Te Arawa confederation of tribes and have strong connections to Ngāti Awa. Traditionally, they occupied the area between the Rotorua lakes and the Bay of Plenty coast where they existed as an independent iwi:

Ngāti Mākino did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi, but during the 1840s and 1850s they dwelt peacefully with the few settlers in their rohe. The Crown gradually increased its presence in the Bay of Plenty from 1842 but applied little pressure on local Māori to sell their lands and customary law largely continued to prevail:

The war between the Crown and the Kīngitanga in the Waikato in 1863 brought an extended period of tension to the Bay of Plenty. The need to choose between support for the Crown, degrees of armed neutrality, and support for the Kīngitanga split Ngāti Mākino internally. At Kaokaoroa in 1864, Ngāti Mākino helped fight off a Kingite taua from the east coast. Not long afterwards, again seeking to keep hostilities from their territory, Ngāti Mākino battled Crown forces at Te Ranga, near Tauranga:

A new round of conflict began in 1865 when the Crown sought those responsible for the murders of a Crown official and others. Ngāti Mākino played no part in the killings. As a consequence of the conflict, the Crown deemed that certain tribes had been in rebellion and confiscated approximately 448 000 acres of land in the eastern Bay of Plenty under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863. While the confiscation was not directed specifically at them, all Ngāti Mākino were affected.

The Crown established a Compensation Court to return land to those who had not been in rebellion. Ngāti Mākino were among those awarded land by the court but some Ngāti Mākino were deemed to be rebels and were excluded from ownership. The court, moreover, returned land in a form inconsistent with customary tenure:

(Ngāti Mākino’s tribal system was further undermined by the operation of the native land laws introduced by the Crown in the 1860s. These laws established the Native Land Court to convert customary title into individual title derived from the Crown. Customary tenure was generally communal and accommodated multiple and overlapping interests to the same land, but Ngāti Mākino had no alternative but to use the court if they wished to secure legal title to their lands and participate in the new economy. The court, however, caused so much unrest amongst Bay of Plenty iwi that the Crown was forced to suspend its operations for several years:

Ngāti Mākino preferred to lease their lands to private parties but by the mid-1880s the Crown had bought the majority of Ngāti Mākino’s lands. In securing title to their lands, Ngāti Mākino incurred heavy survey costs. The Crown emphasised the size of survey debts and wrongly let Ngāti Mākino believe that interest was accruing on them. The Crown also improperly prevented Ngāti Mākino from selling land to private parties:

By 1900, Ngāti Mākino were virtually landless. Nonetheless, in the early twentieth century the Crown compulsorily acquired further Ngāti Mākino land for public works and to establish scenic reserves. Private parties continued to purchase what little land remained, including the majority of Ngāti Mākino’s Ōtamarākau and Whakarewa reserves, both of which were originally awarded with inalienable titles. In the 1920s, the Crown introduced schemes to consolidate and develop fragmented Māori land-holdings, but Ngāti Mākino possessed insufficient land to participate or benefit from them as Ngāti Mākino. By 1992, only 0.6% of the combined area of the 3 major blocks in which Ngāti Mākino had interests remained in the hands of the iwi:

From the 1940s, many Ngāti Mākino moved to forestry settlements looking for work to alleviate poverty and develop new skills. The Crown encouraged this migration and the forest industry became an important part of the economic well-being of Ngāti Mākino. However, the Forest Service was restructured in the 1980s, causing extensive unemployment and dislocation amongst communities who relied on the forest industry, including Ngāti Mākino:

All bills were passed on a voice vote

After Question Time this afternoon the House will pass the, Ngai Tāmanuhiri Claims Settlement Bill and the Rongowhakaata Claims Settlement Bill.

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