On 18 March 1982 Pouakani C1B1 and C1B2 blocks were vested in 6 Trustees to form a Trust known as Titiraupenga Trust – the Trustees were John Paki (Chairman) Kara Rotarangi, Tauhopa Hepi, Edward (Rocky) Bevan and Mike Pitiroi and Morehu Rangitoheriri. The Titiraupenga Trust land is at the foot of and on the lower slopes of Titiraupenga Mountain.
The Trustees established a farming operation and also commenced investigation of issues relating to the activities of the Crown and Maori Land Court that led to the partition of Pouakani Block and the subsequent acquisition of the land by the Crown. The Trustees were satisfied that there were survey and other issues that needed to be addressed.
The Pouakani Land claim was filed as Wai 33 and resulted in Waitangi Tribunal hearings during 1989. Eventually the Pouakani report was released during 1993 identifying 2 main issues to be addressed:
- Historical Claims – Concerning the operation and impact of the native land court and the native land laws in the 19th century.
- Boundary Claims – Relating to a dispute over the location of the western boundary of the Pouakani block.
The Pouakani report was provided recommendations but the Crown was under no obligation to settle these issues, the Crown indicated that it was not prepared to enter into negotiations.
What followed was a long and drawn out journey for the Pouakani People, as they sought justice and compensation for their grievances. Enduring numerous Court appearances, bureaucratic red tape, financial hardship and years of apathy from the Crown, the Claimants finally got a break, and the process of negotiation was entered into by both parties. Once a heads of agreement was reached, its acceptance or rejection was put to the vote by the Pouakani People. The landslide decision to accept the settlement between the Crown and the Pouakani People was a huge step to settlement. The Settlement was finally ratified and contained the following issues and redresses.
The Pouakani Historical Claims concern the operation and impact of the Native Land Court and the Native land laws in the 19th century. Although the Pouakani People wanted to continue administering their own lands and opposed the application of the Native land laws and the jurisdiction of the Native Land Court in their rohe, their wishes went unheeded by the colonial governments.
Within 25 years of the Pouakani lands becoming subject to these laws and the jurisdiction of the Court in the mid 1880’s, 95% of the Pouakani land (over 40, 469 hectares) had been alienated. Today, only 2387 hectares of land is still in Pouakani ownership.
Redress For The Historical Claims Provided By The Pouakani Settlement
- A Crown Apology that expresses the profound regret of the Crown and apologises unreservedly to the Pouakani People for failing to protect their interests in the lands they wished to retain;
- A Statement of Joint Aspirations between the Crown and the Pouakani People relating to the management of Titiraupenga Mountain. Half of the mountain is owned by Trusts affiliated with the Pouakani People and the other half is owned by the Crown;
- A Statutory Acknowledgment relating to the Crown-owned half of Titiraupenga;
- A Memorandum of Understanding outlining how the Department of Conservation and the Pouakani People will interact on specified matters.;
- Financial redress of $2.65 million;
- The Right to Purchase an area of up to 1,679 hectares of Pureora Central Forest, a Crown-owned exotic pine forest.
The Pouakani Boundary Claims relate to a dispute over the location of the western boundary of the Pouakani Block. Following a recommendation by a Royal Commission, a boundary line between Pouakani land and a neighbouring Maori land block was established in law by the Native Land Acts Amendment Act of 1889. But the Native Land Court declared in 1891 that the boundary was to the east of that established by the Act. As a result, the Pouakani People lost almost 1700 hectares, and this land was subsequently alienated to the Crown by the new owners. In 1996 the Maori Land Court overturned the 1891 Native Land Court decision by which Pouakani lost almost 1700 hectares that was rightfully theirs. The settlement of the boundary claims settles the rights that the Pouakani People may have had to bring an action based on the loss of this lost land.
Redress For The Boundary Claims
- Transfer of Tahae Farm, a former Landcorp property of approximately 2,135 hectares;
- Stewardship land – the transfer of approximately 100 hectares of land of low conservation value that is currently farmed by Pouakani under an informal agreement with the Department of Conservation;
- Confirmation in legislation of the western boundary of the Pouakani Block and regularizing the boundary of the Pouakani B9B Block.
The settlement is managed by the Pouakani Trust – a Charitable Trust set up for and on behalf of the descendants of the original owners of the Pouakani Block.