Our Settlement Journey
In 2011, the negotiators for the original owners of Maraeroa A and B blocks signed a deed of settlement with the Crown. This was done with at the resolution of registered members at mandate hui held in Pureora, Te Kuiti, Tokaanu, Auckland and Lower Hutt from 21-29 August 2010.
Originally, Maraeroa A and B blocks were part of the Maraeroa block, a subdivision of the Taupōnuiatia West block in the Te Rohe Pōtae district. The people of Maraeroa A and B blocks comprise hapū affiliated to Ngāti Rereahu, Ngāti Maniapoto, Tūwharetoa, Raukawa and others. Maraeroa is the location of significant wāhi tapu for some of these iwi, including Ngā Herenga, where Rereahu lived peacefully until he died. The area was a kono kai (food basket) that provided food and resources to the iwi of the surrounding district.
The people of Maraeroa A and B blocks held the land under customary tenure and the block was occupied by whānau and hapū in a system of overlapping use rights. Along with other Māori within Te Rohe Pōtae, the people of Maraeroa A and B blocks only had limited involvement with the Crown until the second half of the nineteenth century.
During the nineteenth century, Māori within Te Rohe Pōtae sought to control land alienation and Pākehā settlement. Individualisation of land tenure, Native Land Court processes, survey processes and land purchasing by the Crown and private companies.
As a result of Settlement negotiations, the Crown acknowledged the longstanding and legitimately held grieves that occurred to the owners and descendants of Maraeroa A and B blocks. In particular, the Crown acknowledged that:
Native land legislation was imposed on owners without consulting them;
Native land laws facilitated Crown and private purchasing of Māori land;
In 1887, the Native Land Court awarded Maraeroa to 149 individuals and that this decision was overturned when the block’s title was reheard in 1891, awarding land to just over 450 individuals;
Some of the descendants of the original owners today consider the boundary markers at Taporaroa and Ngā Turi on Hinetu do not align with their traditional understanding of their locations and that this significantly decreased the size of Maraeroa;
The operation and impact of native land laws, particularly individualisation of title, made lands more susceptible to partition, fragmentation and alienation in a way that undermined traditional tribal structures;
It failed to protect collective tribal structures, which prejudiced owners of Maraeroa A and B blocks, which was in breach of the Treaty and its principles;
From 1884 to 1908 the Crown had a monopoly over purchasing from the blocks;
Between 1895 and 1908 the Crown purchased individual interests of most owners in the blocks, totalling 90 percent of the two blocks, including the shares of over 20 minors;
The surveys of Maraeroa became a charge upon the land and some owners who did not wish to sell their lands had areas of land taken for
Native Land Court processes in the registration of individual title, issues with surveying and boundary setting limiting owners’ ability to use the land;
Maraeroa A and B block contained significant areas of indigenous forest;
Crown and private parties benefited from the milling of these forests;
These indigenous forests removed the habitat of indigenous species; and
The alienation of Maraeroa A and B blocks separated the original owners from their wāhi tapu, wāhi kohinga kai, and cultural resources and materials for construction, and undermined their cultural connection to the land.
As a part of the settlement, the Crown made an apology to the original owners of Maraeroa A and B blocks and their descendants.