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Ed Sheeran

From slavery to settlement

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Moriori Imi Settlement Trust was at parliament today to initial a settlement of historic claims.

Once it is ratified after a series of hui around the country and on Rekohu and Rangihaute, the deed of settlement will be signed at Kopinga Marae on Rekohu or Chatham Island, with the Bill to give effect to the settlement expected later this year or early in 2020.

Moriori elders first petitioned Governor Sir George Grey in 1862 seeking restoration of land rights and release from slavery on their island home.

By that stage there was a population of about 120, down from the 2500 living there when Europeans first visited the Chatham Islands in 1791, and after the 1835 invasion by Ngati Tama and Ngati Mutunga assisted by a British sailing vessel,.

The Waitangi Tribunal has found Moriori should have been awarded at least half the land when the Native Land Court assessed claims in 1870, rather than less than 3 percent.

The settlement includes an apology from the Crown, acknowledgment of the breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, the return of sites of cultural significance to Moriori and protection of wahi tchap’ or sacred areas over DOC reserves, 50 percent ownership of the bed of the lake at the centre of Rekohu, Te Whanga Moana, shared customary fisheries around the islands out to 200 nautical miles, restoration of Moriori place-names and $18 million in financial redress.

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