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Ed Sheeran

Law will lay Moriori myth to rest
Photo: All Poetry.

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The chief negotiator for Moriori says putting his people’s history in legislation will do much to dispel the myths about the original inhabitants of the Chatham Islands.

The settlement bill had its first reading this week and was sent to the Māori Affairs Select Committee.

Maui Solomon says the $18 million in commercial redress doesn’t seem much for an act of genocide on the crown’s watch, but it was all the negotiators were able to squeeze out.

The settlement also includes the return of lands of cultural and spiritual significance to Moriori on Rēkohu (Chatham Island) and Rangihaute (Pitt Island), the vesting of 50 per cent of Te Whanga Lagoon, development of customary fisheries regulations, and the establishment of a joint planning committee for natural resources on the group.

There is also an agreed historical account.

"Anyone who wants to know about that can go to an act of parliament rather than all the misinformation and myths that have been put about concerning Moriori over the past 150 years so that will hopefully clear away the dark clouds that have hovered over our people, culture, history and identity since colonisation," Mr Solomon says.

Maui Solomon says a highlight of the first reading was the pōwhiri where the names were read of the 33 ancestors who petitioned Governor George Grey abut their plight in 1862.

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