The Ngāi Tahu Treaty Settlement Negotiation with the Crown: Key players and background

In August 1986 Henare Rakiihia Tau, on behalf of the Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board (NTMTB), submitted a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal about the government’s announcement that it would transfer Crown land interests to State-Owned Enterprises. Ngāi Tahu and Māori across the country were worried that after the government privatised land and assets they would become unavailable for transfer in future Treaty settlements. Over the following year-and-a-half, seven further amendments to their statement of claim were made that set out the grievances arising from land purchases and the lack of reserves provided by the Crown, and the loss of access to food-gathering areas (mahinga kai), including both sea and inland fisheries. Tau was the Deputy Chairman of the Trust Board, and the Upoko of Ngāi Tūāhuriri. Tā Tipene was the Chairman of the NTMTB, and he and Tau formed an effective partnership in leading the Ngāi Tahu claim in the 1980s.

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Post Settlement – the journey so far

Te Kerēme – The Ngāi Tahu Claim – was lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal in 1986, and in the ensuing years of negotiations with the Crown the iwi began to mobilise in preparation for the long-awaited settlement. The passing of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Act 1996 established Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to protect and advance the collective interests of the iwi.

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A Good Man

Kelvin (Kelly) Mervyn Anglem, from Arowhenua, was the first kaiwhakahaere of Ngāi Tahu, heading Te Rūnanganui o Tahu until ill health forced him to retire in 1993. A close friend, cousin, and neighbour of my pōua Carlyle (Carl) Walker, Kelly is a man I have only ever heard spoken of in the very highest regard. Indeed, whenever his name comes up, my mother will say, “He was such a good man.” When I heard that TE KARAKA was planning a profile on Kelly, I proffered my services without hesitation. I grabbed a recorder and a raincoat, and headed south on State Highway 1 to go and talk to Pōua.

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Te Kerēme – a reflection

Twenty years ago we gathered at Takahanga Marae, Kaikōura, to execute the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement with the Crown. It was only after weathering another storm-tossed year of litigation and political stress, both internal and external, that the agreement was finally passed into law by Parliament – that year was to be another story in its own right. It was the Deed of Settlement, though, that marked the turning point in the several histories that comprise the seven-generation story of the Ngāi Tahu Claims – Te Kerēme o Ngāi Tahu.

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