Te Tai – Treaty Settlement Stories

Chapter 1: The Signing

Chapter 1

The Signing

We reflect on the historic signing of New Zealand’s first modern-day Treaty of Waitangi Settlement, by Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, head of the Kiingitanga movement, and Prime Minister Jim Bolger.

Rt Hon Jim Bolger and Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu signing the settlement.

Remembering our rangatira

In 1995, the Crown formally acknowledged their gross pillage and wrongful confiscation of over 1.2 million acres of Waikato land with a settlement of $170 million and the signature of Queen Elizabeth II.

Raupatu is the story of rangatira forging the Waikato-Tainui settlement and traces the tribe’s development over the following 25 years. 

Video: Te Anga Nathan and TVNZ
A display of framed photographs of tuupuna (ancestors) and kaakahu (cloaks).

Landmark signing

“I riro whenua atu, me hoki whenua mai.
Ko te moni hei utu mo te hara.”

As land was taken, so should it be returned.
The money is the acknowledgement by the Crown of their crime.

Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Negotiating Principles

On the morning of the anniversary celebrating the coronation of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu in 1995, a veil of mist shrouded Tuurangawaewae marae.

The rising sun spread its warmth and light on the meeting house Maahinaarangi, revealing portraits of her descendants, leaders of the Kiingitanga, draped in korowai and kawakawa leaves. They had a spiritual place in a ceremony that day, marking settlement of the Waikato raupatu claim.

In July 1863, a British army invaded the Waikato south of the Mangatawhiri river, triggering battles at Meremere, Rangiriri, Ngaaruawaahia and Rangiaowhia. But by 1864 Waikato and its allies had retreated into the King Country and the Maaori defeat at O-Raakau ultimately brought an end to the Waikato Land Wars.

Governor George Grey proclaimed victory over the Kiingitanga and confiscated more than a million acres of Waikato land. This was a far greater blow than military defeat, wrote the historian Michael King. Waikato was unable to subsist on land of its own. The loss of traditional sites including urupaa, places of prayer, sites of centuries of habitation and access to the Waikato river itself, created an intense feeling of deprivation.

Carmen Kirkwood, a former Tainui Maaori Trust Board member believed the trauma of raupatu became inherent.

“It was hard for our old people. They would cry, even my own mother, she would just cry. Everything that made us Maaori was gone.”

Another former Trust Board member, Taitimu Maipi, recalled the heavy drinking among whaanau in Huntly during his childhood.

“The drinking was to drown the sorrows of the land wars and the singing was to take away the pain.”

Jim Bolger and Dame Te Atairangikaahu signing a document.
Prime Minister Rt. Hon Jim Bolger signs the deed of settlement with Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, supported by Ngaati Tipa kuia Rangihinemutu Rawiri at the rear. Image: Tai Moana

The struggle for redress saw decades of denial for Waikato.

Voyages to London by Taawhiao in 1884 and Te Rata in 1914 to petition the British monarchy for the return of confiscated land were unsuccessful. Maaori MPs like Buck, Ngata, Poomare and Carroll were also ineffectual or unwilling to take up the cause.

In 1927, the Sim Commission on Maaori land confiscation found the dispossession of Waikato land as ‘excessive’. But it ignored the tribe’s repeated call for the return of land. An annual payment of £5000 in compensation was reluctantly agreed to by Waikato in 1947.

Despite Robert Mahuta lodging the Wai 30 claim with the Waitangi Tribunal in 1987, Waikato-Tainui bypassed the Tribunal to enter direct negotiations with the National government.

Former Tainui principal legal advisor and now Auckland District Court Judge Denese Henare said the raupatu claim had already been recognised in a previous claim to the Waitangi Tribunal for the Manukau Harbour.

“The Kiingitanga had supported that claim by Ngaati Te Ata and there had been recognition by the tribunal in that report of some of the findings of the Sim Commission, in particular, the grievance of the raupatu, the invasion, the wrongful confiscation, all in breach of the treaty, in violation of the treaty.”

Sir Robert Mahuta, Jim Bolger and others standing at the front of a crowd.

Settlement learning curve

The parameters of the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu settlement deal were struck six months before the coronation anniversary of Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

At this meeting at Hopuhopu, Sir Robert Mahuta introduced the relativity clause, a mechanism to future proof the tribe’s settlement so Waikato-Tainui would not be penalised for being the first iwi to resolve their historic land confiscation claim with the Crown. In fact it ensures that it will remain the largest.

Tainui legal advisor Shane Solomon attributes the clause to Robert’s intellect and ability to understand the political landscape. The government had already suffered a huge backlash from Maaori over its fiscal envelope plan but was desperate for a settlement on its books. Waikato was equally anxious. It was a last-minute-late-at-night agreement, said Solomon.

Only Ngaai Tahu received similar dispensation, due in part to Tipene O’Regan and Mahuta staying in regular contact about the trials and tribulations of their negotiations. All sides were on a treaty settlement learning curve although the government soon wised up about the economic ramifications of the relativity clause.

But Prime Minister Jim Bolger stands by the decision. Somebody had to break the log jam in this new era and go first.

Waikato ushered in that era on May 22 by signing its deed of settlement.

Dame Te Atairangikaahu and Jim Bolger in front of a carved house.
Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu and Prime Minister Rt. Hon Jim Bolger after signing the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Settlement Deed. Image: Tai Moana

During the poowhiri Bolger and Minister of Treaty Settlements Doug Graham were escorted on to Tuurangawaewae marae by Tuuheitia, the future leader of the Kiingitanga, former MP and Tainui statesman Koro Wetere and Tom Winitana, an adviser to the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Receiving them were kaumaatua who had played their part in the claim, Tui Adams, Waea Mauriohooho and Hare Puke. They were joined by Mahuta, Te Atairangikaahu, her husband Whatumoana Paki and Timi Te Heuheu representing his father the paramount chief of Ngaati Tuuwharetoa, Sir Hepi Te Heuheu.

As the karanga drew their manuhiri in, chanting rang out among the lines of women whose stark black clothing was relieved by parekawakawa and scarves of navy blue, the colour of the stylised hawk on the reigning monarch's personal flag.

Manuhiri were also greeted with the sight of Tuaiwa Rickard outside the marae gate, who pronounced the day as one of mourning.

She criticised the way in which treaty settlements were negotiated, considering the process divisive, the settlements unjust, and the haste to sign, obscene. Her response to the negotiators of the 1995 Waikato Raupatu Settlement was that her hapuu of Tainui-Aawhiro in Whaaingaroa stood outside the deal.

But the stage was set.

Crowds of people and media jammed the marae facing Maahinaarangi where the deed of settlement rested on a table.

As it was signed by Te Atairangikaahu and the Prime Minister, the sacred stone talisman Korotangi, the kaitiaki that led the Tainui canoe from Hawaiki to Aotearoa, watched over yet another significant event in the tribe’s journey.

Dame Te Atairangikaahu at the centre of a group of people.

Momentous milestone realised

The signing was an important milestone for Dame Te Atairangikaahu as the descendant of Kiingitanga leaders who had endeavoured to overcome more than 130 years of marginalisation.

Her face was wreathed in smiles as she welcomed and greeted guests

In a rare television interview, she acknowledged how the aspirations of her tuupuna had been realised. She also paid tribute to the strength of her brother, the loyalty of her elders and members of the Tainui Maaori Trust Board, and the bravery of the government.

But she was also mindful of what lay ahead, cautioning her people about the pathway before them.

“Although these treasures have been returned there are other challenges ahead.
But we should be happy that the land that has caused much heartache has been returned.”

Former broadcaster and politician Tukoroirangi Morgan was the master of ceremonies at Tuurangawaewae marae on this historic day. He remembers both the signing and the return of Korotangi vividly.

“It brought to an end a long journey of sacrifice, pain and torment, a reminder of the treachery of the Crown and their deep insatiable lust for our land,” says Morgan.

Graham was also proud of the tribe’s achievement and surprised at how emotional he felt.

“I drove back to Auckland alone after the hui and remember looking up at Taupiri and suddenly tears were just pouring down. I thought about the wonderful friendships I had made with people like Bob and the Queen, how we had all worked so hard over the years…and it was over. It was finally over.”

An older woman.

Rangihinemutu Rawiri talks
about the sacrifice

Ngaati Tipa kuia Rangihinemutu Edith (Iti) Rawiri speaks passionately about Princess Te Puea and Sir Robert Mahuta who sacrificed much to champion the raupatu cause.

Video: Waka Huia, TVNZ

Whakaekengia maatou ki runga i te whare moe tuatahi i tuu ai ki Te Awamaarahi tapaina raa ko Te Ohaaki o Te Puea. (We entered the first sleeping house built at Te Awamaarahi, which was named Te Ohaaki o Te Puea.)

Naa ka noho mai reira, tooku nei moohiotanga he aahuatnga ngeera noo ngaa tuupuna nee, ka mau tonu i roto i taku ngaakau. (We stayed there, and we learned about the experiences of our old people and I still hold those memories dearly in my heart.)

Ka heke haere mai too taatou rangatira i rongo ana au i koorerotia ana te aahuatanga i whakahaerengia e Te Puea te poari whakatuungia ai eera aahuatanga. (I recall the story being told the way Te Puea was leading the board that appointed all those decisions.) 

Kaaore nei taku hoa i heamana moo te poari. Ka tiimata nei a Te Kotahi ki te haere ki te mahi moo te taonga nei, i kite nei au i te toimahatanga o ngaa mahi o teenei tangata moo te iwi. (My husband did not chair the board. So, Te Kotahi took up the challenge and I saw the impact this work on behalf of the tribe had on him.)

Ka ringi ai te poo, nohongia ai te poo ngaa aahuatanga katoatanga i mahingia ai ngeera, ana, koinei ana mookai whai haere Hori maa, Wii maa i ngeera waa. (He worked tirelessly day and night over the years and he had strong supporters Hori and Wii in those times.)

A, kua matemate ngeera e haere tonu nei i teenei rangi. Naa reira, ki ahau nei kua puta ngana wawata nei nee, kua tutuki ngaa wawata o Te Kotahi ehakee i te mea he wawata moona engari he wawata naanaa moo te kaupapa te kaupapa o te Kiingitanga. (Many of those have passed away, but today we will remember them. Therefore, it seems to me that their aspirations have been realised and the dreams of Te Kotahi are fulfilled, not only for him but the collective dream of the Kiingitanga.)

Hei painga moo te iwi, hei painga moo ngaa mokopuna ka rongo. Koinei te tangi i roto i te ngaakau i teenei rangi, naa reira too taatou noho mai nei ko taatou inaianei, kei whea raatou maa i timata i teenei mahi? (It is for the benefit of the people and the grandchildren. That is why I have a heavy heart today, we are fortunate to be here today, to represent those who began this work?)

Koinei te tangi o tooku manawa engari hei aha i te mea kua tutuki i a ia. (That’s why I have a heavy heart, but never mind, look at what he has achieved.)

Kei konei te ariki hei haina i teenei taonga e whakatika ana tooku ngaakau te take ko toona tuupuna i a Taawhiao te haina tuatahi i teenei rangi koia. (Our Ariki is here to sign this deed, and it is well with my soul that she signed the deed first on behalf of her ancestor Tawhiao today.)

An older man.

The history of Raupatu

Revered Tainui kaumatua Dr Tui Adams shares the history of the Kiingitanga movement and its attempts to address raupatu.

Video: Waka Huia, TVNZ

I timata teenei kaupapa raupatu mai raanoo te waa i hainahia ai Te Kotahitanga e te tuupuna, too taatou ariki, e Pootatau. (The story of our land confiscations began when paramount chief Pootatau signed the Declaration of Independence.) 

A muri anoo i teera, ana, i hui ngaa rangatira o te motu nei ki te haina i te Tiriti o Waitangi, a, kiihai roa kua kite ngaa kaumaatua nei te kaawanatanga e hanga ture ana, hei aha?, ana, hei tango i ngaa whenua o taatou tuupuna. (After that, the country's chiefs met to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, and it wasn’t long after that the old people saw the Government creating laws, why? To plunder our ancestral land.)

Ana, ka awangawanga aa taatou tuupuna, naa, i te tau 1858 ka whakatuuria te kiingi tuatahi a Pootatau hei tiaki i ngaa whenua me eetahi anoo, engari, koia teenei te tiaki i ngaa whenua. Koia tonu te mana i runga i ngaa whenua, te kaikoorero moo ngaa whenua, too taatou tuupuna. (Thus, our ancestors became concerned, and in 1858 the first King Pootatau was appointed to protect the land. The land was invested in his authority, he spoke on behalf of the land, our ancestor.)

Anaa, i te tau 1860 te tau ka mate a Pootatau ka tuu mai ko tana tamaiti ko Taawhiao, ana, ka timata anoo i teera te tiaki haere i ngaa whenua nei me te kite anoo i te ngaa whenua e ngaro haere ana. (However, in 1860 Pootatau died, and his son Tawhiao succeeded him, and he became the custodian of these lands which he saw being alienated.)

Tae rawa ake ki te tau 1863/4 kua piki tonu te paakeha ki roto i too taatou rohe, ki roto i too taatou whenua, ana, ka tae mai, ka ngaro ngaa marae nei Huiterangiora, O-Taawhao, Rangiaowhia, ana, Oraakau. (By 1863-1864 British settler numbers residing within our boarders swelled, and after their arrival, marae such as Huiterangiora, O-Taawhao, Rangiaowhia, and, Oraakau were lost.)

Matemate oo taatou tuupuna i konaa, koinaa te raupatu e koorerotia nei. Ana, te huarahi mai teenaa waa ki teenei waa, i takahia oo taatou ariki te haerenga o Taawhiao ki Ingarangi i te 1884 te tau, koia teera te tono ki a Wikitooria kia whakamanahia Te Tiriti, ana, kia whakahoki mai ngaa whenua i raupatuhia. (Our ancestors died there, that's the type of confiscation we are talking about. So from then to now, our King Taawhiao travelled to England in 1884, to ask Queen Victoria to honour the Treaty, and return the land that was confiscated.) 

Ake iho ki taku i reira, heoi anoo te koorero mai o ngaa kaikoorero e kore taa raatou whaawhaa mai i teeraa take engari maa te kawanatanga anoo utu rere nei, kei a raatou kee te mana. (The officials told them they could not deal with this matter but to take their concerns to their own Government to address as they had the authority to do so.)

Naa ka mate atu teena Kiingi, ana, ka tuu mai ko tana tamaiti, a Mahuta. Ana, ka kii a Mahuta (Time passed and that King died, and his son Mahuta succeeded him. Mahuta said,)

“Haere taku Paapaa me oou taonga katoa, maaku anoo, maaku teetehi e kimi i muri i a koe.” (Farewell father and all your treasures, I will seek to address these issues after you.)

Heoi anoo, ka whai a Mahuta i te huarahi atu ki te whare paaremata ka pootihia ka uru a Mahuta ki te whare o roto. Ana, iwa tau ia ki te whare paaremata, a, i te mutunga iho ka puta mai ki waho, ana, te koorero o Mahuta. (Instead, Mahuta followed a different path to the House of Representatives and was duly appointed to the Legislative Council. He spent nine years in Parliament and eventually withdrew and Mahuta said:)

“I haere mai au ki teenei whare, i mahara ake au ko au te rangatira, engari kua kite au, ana, he rangatira anoo tooku. Noo reira ka hoki au ki te tumu tawhito o aku tuupuna raanoo” (When I came to this house, I thought I was the chief, but I saw that I instead had a superior chief. So I go back to the headland of my ancestors.)

Naa mahara anoo ki te koorero raa, haere taku paapaa me oou taumaha katoa maaku anoo teenei maaku e kimi i muri i a koe. (And I recalled the words of my father and the challenges that he endured. I will now take up the challenge.)

Koinei raa, te huarahi i whaia ngaa kaumaatua nei moo te raupatu. Mate atu teenaa Kiingi, tuu mai ko Te Rata. (That is, the journey tred by the old people to reconcile the confiscation of our land. Mahuta passed, and Te Rata succeeded him.)

Haere a Te Rata ki Ingaarangi, ana, ka koorero atu ki a Kiingi Hoori, ana, te koorero mai teeraa waa te taenga atu (Te Rata went to England, where he sought an audience with King George, he replied,)

“E kore e taea te whiriwhiri too take naa te mea ko te ahi o te tiamana kua ngiha mai, ara, te pakanga tuatahi.” (I can't resolve your problem because the fire of Germany ensues my land, that was World War One.)

Naa, hoki mai a Te Rata engari anaa me te wawata haere tonu te aahuatanga o te raupatu nei. (Te Rata returned, despite his attempts the land confiscation issue remained.)

Ana, ka tae mai ki ngaa waa o Tuumate kaumaatua maa, a Te Hurinui maa, oo taatou, he raarangi rangatira mai raanoo mai ki teenei waa, ko eenei naa ko Te Kotahi. Engari piripono tonu a Waikato, a Maniapoto hoki, anaa, koia teenei te aata tuu pai te raupatu. (So, then we arrived to the days of Tuumate and the old people of that time, Te Hurinui and a long list of chiefs, to this day, to Te Kotahi. Waikato and Maniapoto remain committed to resolving these historic land confiscation issues and now we have reached a new dawn to settle raupatu.)

Sir Robert Mahatu and others signing documents.

Paving the way

Waikato-Tainui bypassed the Waitangi Tribunal and entered direct negotiations with the National government to resolve their historical grievances in 1991.

Robert Mahuta had earlier filed the Wai 30 claim on behalf of the Tainui Maaori Trust Board and Ngaa Marae Toopu with the Tribunal in 1987. Now rangatira ki te rangatira negotiations were preferred.

Auckland District Court Judge Denese Henare was the principal legal advisor to Waikato-Tainui during the litigation in the 1980s leading to the raupatu negotiations in the 1990s.

Henare says it was critical to set the record straight and have the historical account, accounted.

National took a commonsense approach to the Treaty of Waitangi settlements by starting with one of the larger claims, says former Treaty Negotiations Minister Doug Graham.

“Waikato-Tainui seemed to me to be the most obvious one because it was obviously one of the major claims but more particularly it was very well led by the Kiingitanga, and by Bob Mahuta and all his team,” says Graham.

“The grievance was well known, there was no question what had happened. There wasn’t any debate about the raupatu or the rights or wrongs of it, so it was obviously one to approach.”

After four years of negotiations, Mahuta and Graham signed the Heads of Agreement on 19 December, 1994.

At this meeting, Mahuta introduced the relativity clause, in a bid to ensure that Waikato-Tainui did not pay a price for being the first cab off the Treaty of Waitangi rank.

The relativity clause means that the Crown is liable to make payments to maintain the proportion of the Waikato-Tainui and Ngaai Tahu settlements at, respectively, 17% and 16.1%. The clause expires in 2045.

While Tainui legal advisor Shane Solomon says the relativity clause was a masterstroke by Mahuta, in reality, the total settlement including relativity clause payments is still a fraction of the value of the 1.2 million acres of tribal land confiscated.

“It was all about the Trust Board and Sir Robert being quite reasonable about the expectation.”

Video: Waikato Tainui College for Research and Development
Queen Elizabeth and Dame Te Atairangikaahu with two men on either side.

A royal apology

Video: TVNZ

Two Queens came together to complete New Zealand’s largest Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

Queen Elizabeth II gave the Royal assent to the Waikato Raupatu Claims Settlement Act 1995 with Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu and Waikato kaumaatua.

It was the first time a British Monarch had ever apologised to Maaori and is still the only piece of legislation signed here and in public by Queen Elizabeth II. The apology itself was a politically sensitive issue.

When the signing took place in a private ceremony on November 3 in Wellington, there was a view that a prophecy of King Taawhiao, the second Maaori King, had finally been fulfilled. In 1884 he went to London to petition Queen Victoria about historical land grievances but was refused an audience.

He later predicted that the poverty and political powerlessness he endured following the confiscation wouldn’t continue beyond the days of his grandchildren. The settlement by Dame Te Atairangikaahu and Queen Elizabeth II attained this.

Notes and credits

Waikato-Tainui have chosen to use double-vowels rather than macrons in this feature.

This story was originally published on the the Waikato-Tainui Endowed College for Research and Development website Raupatu

‘Chapter 1 – The Signing’ image: Te Anga Nathan

‘Remembering our rangatira’ image: Tai Moana

‘Landmark signing’ image: Tai Moana

‘Settlement learning curve’ image: Tai Moana

‘Momentous milestone realised’ image: Tai Moana

‘Rangihinemutu Rawiri talks about sacrifice’ image: Waikato-Tainui

‘The history of raupatu’ image: Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

‘Paving the way’ image: Waikato-Tainui

‘A royal apology’ image: Alexander Turnbull Library Reference: EP/1995/4375B/33A-F