Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox is thrilled that tangata whenua in Wairarapa will be given greater control over the Papawai and Kaikōkirikiri Trusts.
“It’s about Parliament recognising the trustee’s rangatiratanga over their land and scholarship funds”, she says.
Mrs Fox says the trustees, which manage 300 hectares of land and distribute $60,000 in education scholarships each year, will soon see significant changes made to their governing legislation.
Mrs Fox recommended the trustees ask their local National MP Alastair Scott to sponsor the Bill so it could guarantee its smooth passage through Parliament. Mr Scott introduced the Papawai and Kaikōkirikiri Trusts Amendment Bill as a private member’s bill into Parliament this evening.
“I know the iwi of Wairarapa have waited a long time for this 1943 Act to be changed so I’m elated that the Amendment Bill has finally been introduced.
“The Papawai and Kaikōkirikiri trustees are subject to some draconian provisions including the need for them to go to the Māori Land Court every time they want to change their trustees”, she says.
Other changes include altering the criteria for the distribution of scholarships to include all descendants of tangata whenua in Wairarapa and allowing the Trust to develop the land blocks of Papawai, Kaikōkiri and Clareville.
“The Bill removes some of the unnecessary legal constraints and it recognises the mana of Rangitāne as well as Ngāti Kahungunu in Te Wairarapa.
“The recognition of all tangata whenua in Te Wairarapa is hugely important to local iwi”, she says.
The Bill passed its First Reading in Parliament tonight and Mrs Fox joined the trustees in performing a waiata tautoko in the House.
The Māori Party looks forward to supporting this private member’s Bill through Parliament.