Buddle Findlay has acted for the Crown for the last 15 years on the negotiation and drafting of historical Treaty of Waitangi settlements. We have been involved in around 50 Treaty settlements during that time.
Taranaki iwi experienced some of the most severe breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, including the raupatu (unlawful confiscation) of 1.2 million hectares of Māori land.
The eight Taranaki iwi have completed their individual Treaty settlements, but the Taranaki Maunga (Mt Taranaki) negotiations involved the eight iwi collectively. One key feature of the negotiated redress is that the peaks will be known as 'Te Kahui Tupua' (the collective ancestors) and will be declared a legal person in the settlement legislation. A co-governance entity will be established (Te Tōpuni Kōkōrangi) to be the voice of that legal person. The current national park will be renamed Te Papa-Kura-o-Taranaki and the innate values of Te Kahui Tupua will be recognised in settlement legislation.
Te Ruruku Pūtakerongo, the collective redress deed for Taranaki Maunga, was initialled on 31 March 2023 by iwi leaders and Ministers at a moving ceremony at Aotearoa Marae in Taranaki. Buddle Findlay Partner Paul Beverley and Senior Associate Libby Cowper attended.
This is the third time a geographic feature in New Zealand will be granted 'legal personality': the other two being Te Urewera (formerly Urewera National Park) in 2014 and Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) in 2017). Paul and the Buddle Findlay team acted on all three of those negotiations for the Crown.