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The Ka Mate Haka Needs To Be In Settlement For Protection - Iwi

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 11 NZPA - Ngati Toa want the Ka Mate haka -- made famous by the All Blacks -- included in their Treaty of Waitangi settlement to ensure it is protected, an iwi spokesman said.

Having a dozen Italian models perform a provocative haka to sell cars was not protecting it, Matiu Rei told reporters at a ceremony to sign the Letter of Agreement today -- referring to a television ad for Fiat.

Ngati Toa Rangatira, along with Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust and Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga, met with politicians at Parliament today to sign the $300 million agreement which marks a milestone in settlement negotiations.

The three groups will receive over $170 million in redress and $128m in Crown forest rental, emission credits and other payments.

The groups, representing 12,000 members based around the Wellington region and top of the South Island, have said the agreements settle all their historical Treaty of Waitangi claims.

A special provision was made in the settlement with Ngati Toa for the Ka Mate haka -- which was written by their famous chief Te Rauparaha.

There is still work to be done, but the meeting today had a celebratory feel.

Mr Rei said the issue of the haka was part of a greater debate about how to treat cultural intellectual property.

Ngati Toa wanted to protect the haka from "inappropriate use" and there was growing respect for indigenous cultures internationally.

Defending a trademark was too expensive for the iwi but there were sometimes moral obligations, outside the law, which they may be able to draw on, Mr Rei said.

"While the haka is part of Ngati Toa ... it is also part of New Zealand."

Mr Rei believed all New Zealanders would want the haka protected.

The settlement letter said it would "record the authorship and significance of the haka" to Ngati Toa. This allows Ngati Toa to "address their concerns with the haka".

The Crown did not expect Ngati Toa to receive royalties or a veto on the performance of the haka.

"Ngati Toa's primary objective is to prevent the misappropriation and culturally inappropriate use of the Ka Mate haka," the Crown said.

The Crown also acknowledged the detention of Te Rauparaha without trial for 18 months.

Ngati Toa will receive $75.35m in redress and $45.6m in Crown forest rental and emission credits.

Mr Rei said there were still specific details to be worked out, including which properties would be included in the settlement.

The Wellington Central Police Station was one of the major buildings in the mix, he said.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said he hoped the negotiations would be finished by the end of the year.

Mr Rei said that was "pretty tough" but the minister had been moving at a "cracking pace".

The Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust will receive $42.41m in redress and $37.2m in lieu of redress over licensed Crown forest land.

Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga will receive $53.69m in redress and $45.6m in Crown forest rental and emission credits.

The meeting was standing-room only with iwi members, kaumatua, politicians and media packed in to witness the event.

Prime Minister John Key, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson represented the Crown at the signings.

Mr Key said the signings were significant because they meant all outstanding historical Treaty claims in the South Island, and a large part of the lower North Island, were resolved.

"Today's ceremonies are also a testament to the iwi groupings involved," he said.

Dr Sharples said the ability to reach a settlement was a huge step forward for any iwi, because it demonstrated a high level of organisation and determination,

"I want to pay special tribute to the eight iwi who are signing today, because of their particular circumstances," he said.

"The number of iwi, the turbulent history of this area, and the extent of overlapping interests among themselves and with their neighbours, have made these negotiations especially complex.

"I am certain they have succeeded only through high levels of mutual respect, and enormous goodwill and generosity. The fact that all eight iwi are here today is testament to the rangatiratanga they have shown throughout the process."

Mr Finlayson said today was special to him because it was his first signing since becoming minister.

He said Labour's Michael Cullen had done a lot of work on the settlement under the previous government.

"Today's signing demonstrates the Government's commitment to maintaining momentum in Treaty settlement negotiations."

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