Following criticism and feedback from the TRM Daily Report yesterday re Tongariro Crossing warnings, and to assist understanding of any land issues locally, the following extract provides a brief summary of the background – refer to the historic reasons under sub-heading Treaty Settlement.
What is so interesting is that in the rest of NZ most Maori Settlement claims go back 150 years, but the Turangi claims were relatively recent as the town was developed only 50 years ago and many of the complainants who experienced the Crown acquisitions still live here.
As for the issue outlined re the problems created by over 120,000 tourists tramping the crossing every year, DoC (Department of Conservation) manage the track and should respond to such issues. Don’t hold your breath…
Lastly, we need to emphasise that (despite SWMBO who considers Herself an expert to comment on anything and everything) TRM do not pretend to be qualified in any way to advise on such Maori settlement issues. So we have copied the “Wikipedia interpretation” to enlighten some other fishy inmates who question the background and validity of such contentious matters as breaches to the Treaty. Your response would be welcome…
The streets around Turangi in autumn are lined with “brilliant” foliage.
Built on the banks of the Tongariro River, Turangi and its surrounding countryside offers challenging hunting, fishing, mountain biking, hiking or leisurely bush walks, white water rafting, kayaking and sight seeing.
Population and demographics
The town has a population of around 3500, (Now under 3,000) and it is (after Taupo) the second largest population centre in the Taupo District. Turangi’s population peaked at 9000 during the 1970s. Since the end of the Project in the 1980s the population has declined but has remained stable due to the town’s handy location for tourists.
(Above “Welcome to Turangi” sign since removed by Taupo Council. When another new sign with the identical welcome message was erected outside a popular local motel, the owners were fined $300 by the Council for not having a resource consent? How pathetic! TRM has had signage on the main road for over fifty years…)
Tourism and forestry are the mainstay of the community with the Department of Corrections two prisons, Genesis Energy, the Department of Conservation and farming being the main employers. The town is also home to a centre for sustainable practice at Awhi Farm, providing education and enterprise training.
The area was settled by the people of Ngati Tuwharetoa, descendants of those who had originally settled in the Kawerau area. The major Tuwharetoa migration occurred from about the 16th century with a war party under command of Turangitukua who engaged in a number of battles against earlier inhabitants of the Taupo, Rotoaira and Kaimanawa area. Following these battles a variety of settlements were established in the area with major pa established on the cliff overlooking the Tongariro River and at Waitahanui on the Tongariro Delta. Another important settlement was at Tokaanu.
The people who eventually become known as Ngati Turangitukua associate mainly with Waitahanui pa. From here they established a number of homesteads along both sides of the Tongariro River and its tributaries. Including houses along the main Highway to Taumarunui (now Hirangi Road) In 1910 construction of a wharepuni begun which eventually became the Hirangi Marae complex.
In the 1880s and 1890s brown and rainbow trout were introduced into the lake and rivers of the area. A small fishing camp was established at Taupahi on the Tongariro river bank (now Taupahi Road) and a number of European fisherman camped here.
In the 1920s two prison farms were opened at Rangipo and Hautu because of the isolated nature of the area. Also during this period the Morar family arrived from India, settling and establishing a store in Tokaanu.
By 1960 the population was about 500.
In the 1950s, in response to post World War II needs for rapid expansion of energy resources to meet the growing industrialisation in New Zealand, the Tongariro Power Scheme proposal was developed. The scheme would require a large construction force, and provide accommodation for that force for the duration of the project.
Four sites were considered for the township to accommodate the project workers: Rotoaira, Rangipo, Turangi West, and Turangi East. The tourism potential of Lake Taupo was appreciated, as well as the economic benefits that could be captured by creating a permanent township. Taking in account accessibility, climate, and adequacy of suitable land for development of a township, it was decided to go with the Turangi West site.
Construction of the town began late in 1964. The Government invested $16 million in the development and by May 1966, the population of Turangi had jumped from 500 to 2,500 people. By 1968 the population reached a high of 6,500. A model town with curving streets and cul-de-sacs, uniform houses, pedestrian shopping centre, parking lots and separation from the traffic on the main highway was created.
A publicity pamphlet published by the Ministry of Works in 1969 described Turangi at that time as a pleasant and attractive town of 5000 people which offered a ‘balanced community life’. The pamphlet enumerated the town’s amenities, shops, and services, such as its mall, schools, sports facilities, library, maternity hospital, parks, and, not least, its wide, grassy verges and kerbing.
Following the completion of the project in the late 1970s, the Ministry of Works and other government departments began a process of selling assets within the Turangi township.
In 1989 Ngati Turangitukua registered with the Waitangi Tribunal (Wai 84) The claim was heard under urgency between April and October 1994, and the Tribunal’s Report was released in September 1995.
The Tribunal found that the Crown had breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in a number of ways:
- The Crown acquired Māori land at Turangi West when Crown land at Turangi East was available:
- The Crown did not adequately consult with Ngati Turangitukua regarding the construction of the township:
- The land taken for the township was in excess of the maximum area that the Crown promised it would take:
- The land the Crown undertook to lease for industrial purposes and return to the people after 10 to 12 years was compulsorily acquired and not returned:
- Wahi tapu were destroyed or damaged in the construction of the township:
- Adequate compensation was not paid for land acquired:
- The Crown did not give full effect to conservation values:
- The Crown did not pay Ngati Turangitukua the respect due its mana as tangata whenua:
- The provisions of the Public Works Act 1928 and the Turangi Township Act 1964, relied on by the Crown in entering and taking the claimants’ land, are inconsistent with the basic guarantee in Article II of the Treaty of Waitangi that Māori may keep their land until such time as they wish to sell it.
- The Tribunal found that, as a result of the Crown’s breaches of the principles of the Treaty, Ngati Turangitukua lost much of its ancestral land. Its social and economic base was seriously eroded causing spiritual, cultural, and economic prejudice to Ngati Turangitukua.
In July 1998, the Crown and Ngati Turangitukua negotiated to achieve a full and final settlement of Ngati Turangitukua’s Treaty claims and to remove the continuing sense of grievance.
The Crown and Ngati Turangitukua entered into a deed of settlement on 26 September 1998, resulting in a full and final settlement of Ngati Turangitukua’s Treaty claims relating to the development and construction of the Turangi Township and its after effects.
In 1999 the Ngati Turangitukua Claims Settlement Act 1999 was passed to:
(a) To record the apology given by the Crown to Ngati Turangitukua in the deed of settlement executed on 26 September 1998 by the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, the Right Honourable Sir Douglas Arthur Montrose Graham, for the Crown, and Ngati Turangitukua; and
(b) To give effect to certain provisions of that deed of settlement, being a deed that settles the Ngati Turangitukua claims.