Treaty of Waitangi settlement for Moriori completed as bill passes final reading

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The Moriori Claims Settlement Bill has passed its third reading at Parliament – completing the historical Treaty of Waitangi settlement process for Moriori.

Maui Solomon

Maui Solomon says the Treaty of Waitangi settlement for Moriori completed with the passing of the Moriori Claims Settlement Bill, will allow his people to ‘look forward to the future’. Photo: YouTube screenshot

The settlement package includes a Crown apology, the transfer of culturally and spiritually significant lands to Moriori as cultural redress, financial redress of $18 million, and shared redress such as the vesting of 50 percent of Te Whanga Lagoon.

Moriori chief negotiator Maui Solomon told Morning Report the settlement had taken 159 years.

He said the fact it would become “the law of the land” in 40 days’ time was “a significant moment in our history and I think in the history of Aotearoa”.

Solomon said the return of culturally and spiritually significant lands would allow Moriori to “protect and honour the burial places of our karāpuna”.

“There are Moriori wahi tapu or scared burial places all around the coastline around Rēkohu and on Rangiaotea which is Pitt Island, so having many of those returned and protected by statutory classifications is very important.”

The financial redress of $18 million under the settlement wasn’t as much as Moriori had asked for but Solomon said he was satisfied they had done everything they could to get the best settlement they could in this generation.

“It’s never enough … how do you compensate genocide?” he said, adding: “If future generations want to have another debate with the Crown, well that’ll be up to them – although it’s a full and final settlement, we signed off to that.”

He said yesterday was “a day to reflect, to celebrate and to recall and honour the sacrifices of our ancestors and their struggle for justice but it was also an opportunity to look forward to the future”.

Solomon said a highlight of the day for him was when the chair of the Māori affairs select committee, Tamati Coffey, played a traditional Moriori rongo in the house that was “composed by the ancestors but given new life by one of our young musicians, Ajay Peni”.

“To me … really was significant because it was a bringing together of the past, remoulding it into the present for the purpose of future generations.”

Solomon said Moriori were “very resilient people” and weren’t dwelling in the past.

“This just gives us another leg up to keep moving in that direction not only for Moriori but for the Chathams in general,” he said.

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