Ngati Kuri Requests Space at Third Reading of Treaty Settlement to Remember Those Who Have Passed On
Ngati Kuri has requested Parliamentary Services be set aside in a section of the public gallery to acknowledge the tribe’s tupuna who have passed on and allow their spirit to be part of the Third Reading of the Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill at Parliament on the 9th of September.
Chairman of Te Manawa o Ngati Kuri Harry Burkhardt says it is the wish of Ngati Kuri kaumatua to symbolically communicate to Parliamentarians the mixed emotions brought up by the Third Reading.
“Keeping a section of the public gallery empty specifically is a symbolic gesture for the people of Ngati Kuri who had passed on before the settlement was achieved.”
Burkhardt says the tribe would like empty chairs reserved in memory of those of their people who did not live to see the day.
“We see this as an appropriate reminder that they still walk with us, including Tuini Sylva, Matiu Rata, Mira Szaszy, Manawa Aperehama, Piri Paraone, John Abraham, Motu Rapata, Rata Raharuhi, Paraha Neho, Rapata Romana, Nina Subritzky, Sophie Waitai, Ratima Petera, Rima Edwards, Alice Palmer, Merimeri Penfold, Saana Murray, Whare Mehana, Joe Rewi, Whiti Maaka and many others.”
Each stage of the settlement process has brought up different emotions.
Burkhardt says kaumatua within the iwi represent all points of view and that has led to discussions about the appropriateness of travelling to Parliament to witness the Third Reading.
“For many in Ngati Kuri the years of negotiating a partial return of taonga lost, and receiving the Crown Apology at signing of the Deed of Settlement at Ngataki on Friday February 7 2014, was the conclusion of the journey. For others it will take more time to put the hurt and humiliation of Treaty transgressions behind them. And for a large group it is a bitter sweet conclusion where their thoughts are with those people who didn’t live long enough to witness the completion of the settlement or hear the apology from the Crown for past transgression of the Treaty of Waitangi against the people of Ngati Kuri.”
Bukhardt says it is important that, as a partner in the Treaty, Ngati Kuri is represented and that will be undertaken by Walter Wells and Sheridan Waitai.
“Each group from the Far North will acknowledge the event in their own way and support what Ngati Kuri is requesting. It is not a protest; it is a quiet unspoken reverential acknowledgement, and a necessary part of finding peace.”
Burkhardt believes many of those who remain behind will be reflecting on this day in their own way.
Ngati Kuri signed a Deed of Settlement on the 7th of February 2014 and Parliament will read the Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill on September 9th 2015.
For further comment contact:
Walter Wells 027 226 3882
For media assistance contact:
Darrell Carlin 021 709 907