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Ka tika a muri, ka tika a mua

Healing the past, building a future

Step 1 – Preparing claims for negotiations
Step 2 – Pre-negotiations
Step 3 – Negotiations
Step 4 – Ratification and implementation
Settlement Components
Crown apology
Financial and commercial redress
Cultural redress
Completed settlements

The Office of Treaty Settlements (OTS) provides the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations with advice on policy and negotiations to settle historical Treaty of Waitangi claims.

OTS is the main contact point between the Crown and Māori claimant groups with historical Treaty claims. It:

  • advises the government on generic Treaty issues, including overall strategies for settling historical Treaty claims
  • advises and assists claimant groups to ensure well-mandated, large natural groups of claimants are ready to enter negotiations
  • negotiates with Māori on behalf of the Crown
  • implements settlements
  • ensures that the Crown undertakes research into historical Treaty grievances and has its position represented at Waitangi Tribunal hearings
  • advises on the acquisition, management, transfer and disposal of Crown-owned property for Treaty claim purposes.

The aim of OTS is to settle all historical claims made by claimants against the Crown for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles. Historical claims are defined as Crown acts or omissions before 21 September 1992.

Process of negotiation

Each negotiation with a claimant group is different because each group has different claims and interests. However, the negotiation of historical Treaty claims usually involves four steps.

Step 1 – Preparing claims for negotiations

This stage involves agreement by the Crown and the claimant group to negotiate. This involves the Crown accepting that there is a well-founded grievance, and the claimant group meeting the Crown’s preference for negotiating with large natural groupings, such as iwi. It is also important that representatives are mandated by the claimant community and that processes are in place for consultation with claimant group members.

Step 2 – Pre-negotiations

In this stage Terms of Negotiation are developed and signed, setting out the basis upon which negotiations will take place. Funding is made available to mandated representatives on behalf of the claimant group as a contribution to the cost of negotiations. The claimant group identify the areas or sites and Crown assets in which they are interested in seeking redress and the types of redress they think are appropriate in relation to those sites or areas.

Step 3 – Negotiations

Formal negotiations now begin. This involves the mandated representatives continuing to consult with members of the claimant group on settlement issues and, where relevant, seeking their views on a governance entity for managing settlement assets. The focus is on reaching an agreement that sufficiently meets the interests of both parties and usually includes compromise on both sides. The result is a draft Deed of Settlement. This is the final Crown offer to the claimant group for the settlement of their historical grievances. Mandated representatives approve and initial a complete Deed of Settlement (initialling indicates to the wider claimant group that their mandated representatives believe the Crown’s final offer should be accepted), and the Crown reviews the proposed governance entity for the proposed settlement redress to ensure it is representative, accountable and transparent.

Step 4 – Ratification and implementation

The mandated representatives engage in an extensive communication process on the initialled Deed of Settlement and the proposed governance entity. A postal ballot of claimant group members is held and if a sufficient majority of claimant group members has ratified the settlement, their mandated representatives sign the Deed of Settlement. This Deed is binding and subject only to the establishment of the governance entity and the passage of legislation to give effect to the settlement. Following the legislation, both the Crown and claimants implement the agreements in the Deed, including the transfer of settlement assets and cultural redress.

Settlement Components

Settlements are now occurring at a rate of about one every six months. These settlements are usually comprehensive, in that they settle all the historical claims of a claimant group. Every settlement is different because every claimant group has different interests and experiences, however, settlements are usually made up of a number of key elements. These are:

Crown apology

Settlements usually include an historical account of the events that led to a breach or breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles. The Crown then acknowledges and accepts responsibility for any breaches. In the apology that follows the historical account and Crown acknowledgements of a breach or breaches, the Crown formally expresses its regret for past injustices suffered by the claimant group and breaches of the Treaty and its principles.

Financial and commercial redress

The extent of the financial and commercial redress received in a settlement is a matter for negotiation, but it is fundamentally related to the nature and extent of Crown’s breaches of the Treaty and its principles. It is aimed at assisting the claimant group to re-establish an economic base as a platform for future development, and usually includes cash and Crown owned commercial assets.

Cultural redress

The cultural redress component of an historical settlement allows claimant groups to:

  • protect wāhi tapu on Crown-owned land
  • achieve recognition of their traditional relationships with the natural environment of their rohe
  • take part in the management (and decision-making) of the natural environment in their rohe.

This may include such things as the transfer of discrete sites, input into the management of reserves, or place name changes.

Completed settlements

Thirteen Deeds of Settlement have been signed that provide redress to
iwi and hap¯u for historical claims arising from breaches by the Crown of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles. In addition, the pan-Māori fisheries settlement, a final settlement of all Māori commercial fisheries claims, has been concluded with the Crown. The financial redress provided in these settlements totals more than $637,000,000.

Deeds of Settlement are usually with large natural groups, and therefore settle a number of individual Waitangi Tribunal claims.

Claimant Group
Financial and Commercial Redress
Year of Deed
Commercial Fisheries
Ngāti Whakaue
Waikato-Tainui raupatu
Te Maungā
Ngāi Tahu
Ngāti Türangitukua
The Pouakani People
Te Uri o Hau
Ngāti Ruanui
Ngāti Tama
Ngāti Awa

Updated in 2003, since when there have been more settlements, and expression of preference by some parties in Parliament that there be a time limit set on making further settlements

Find out more

Information on the settlement process and current negotiations is available through the Office of Treaty Settlements website.
A detailed guide to the negotiation of a comprehensive Treaty of Waitangi settlement, Healing the past, building a future has been published. This is available on the Office of Treaty Settlements website or from the Office of Treaty Settlements at 04 494 9800, PO Box 919, Wellington or contact us by email.











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