Mangatū Remedies Report Released
In a report released today (23 December 2013), the Waitangi Tribunal declined to make a binding recommendation for the return of Crown forest licensed land to Māori groups in the Tūranga (Gisborne) district.
The Mangatū Remedies Report is the result of separate applications by the Mangatū Incorporation, Te Aitanga a Māhaki and Affiliates, Ngā Ariki Kaipūtahi, and Te Whānau a Kai. Each group had asked the Tribunal to make a binding recommendation for the return of Mangatū Crown forest licensed lands as a remedy for historical claims.
The Tribunal had previously considered these historical claims in its 2004 report Turanga Tangata Turanga Whenua: The Report on the Turanganui-a-Kiwa Claims. In that report, the Tribunal identified significant Crown Treaty breaches, especially the loss of life and land suffered by Māori in the Tūranga district.
In May 2011, the Supreme Court directed the Tribunal to hear the Mangatū Incorporation’s application for remedy of its specific claim. That claim concerned the Crown’s 1961 purchase from the Incorporation of 8,522 acres of land, which is now part of the Mangatū Crown forest licensed land. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, the three other groups lodged similar applications in respect of their own claims.
In the report released today, the Tribunal concluded that it could not be certain that a binding recommendation for the return of Mangatū Crown forest licensed land would provide redress proportionate to the prejudice suffered and that it was unable to make recommendations that would be fair and equitable between the four groups. The Tribunal considered that redress that seemed to favour one group over others would risk creating fresh grievances and might undermine the chances of achieving a durable Treaty settlement of the claims.
The Tribunal urged all the applicants to return to settlement negotiations with the Crown. It emphasised that negotiations would allow them flexibility to develop a comprehensive settlement of all their claims, which it could not achieve in this case through the use of its binding powers.
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