Press Release: Signing Ceremony Date Confirmed

Mar 05, 2023 | latest

Whakatōhea Deed of Settlement Ceremony Date Confirmed

Ōpōtiki, 6 March 2023:  Whakatōhea have confirmed the official date for the signing of the historic Whakatōhea Deed of Settlement.  On Saturday 27 May 2023, 183 years to the day that Whakatōhea Rangatira signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Whakatōhea Deed of Settlement will be signed in Ōpōtiki, in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

The signing of the Deed of Settlement will formerly mark the conclusion of negotiations, which commenced over 30 years ago and 135 years since Whakatōhea first petitioned the Crown in 1887 seeking justice.  It symbolizes new beginnings as Te Whakatōhea embark on plans to bring whānau aspirations to life.

Settlement will be transformational for Whakatōhea and the Ōpōtiki community. It will enable much needed financial investment in the people of Whakatōhea and the local economy, increasing employment opportunities and improving living conditions for everyone in the rohe. Outside of the financial redress, settlement provides a platform to support the growth of whānau, the whenua and moana.  It will mean that Whakatōhea are able to ensure the whenua and moana are protected and that the health, education, and wellbeing of whānau is prioritised under the mana of Whakatōhea.

Transformation extends to investment in Whakatōheatanga, the cultural capability of whānau, into reo, tikanga, waiata and kapa haka.  As seen recently by the celebration that was Te Matatini, this is something Whakatōhea whānau want to see investment in.

Graeme Riesterer, Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust Chair, remarked on the signing ceremony.

“This will be a day of commemoration, remembrance as well as celebration for Te Whakatōhea.  It will be a time to acknowledge our tūpuna who signed the treaty and those who were impacted directly by the raupatu, our whānau who are no longer with us to see this dream come true and to recognise the hard work of everyone who has worked tirelessly to make this settlement a reality.

“The signing ceremony is a chance for our Whakatōhea whānau from around the motu, to come to Ōpōtiki, connect, come together and hear the Crown apology and finally be able to settle our grievances with the Crown” say Graeme.

Planning for the signing ceremony has commenced, and while the physical signing of the Deed of Settlement will be held in Ōpōtiki, the organising committee is working through arrangements to enable everyone, regardless of location, to be part of this momentous occasion. 

Graeme concludes “Whakatōhea manaakitanga will drive all celebration decisions. This is a once in a lifetime kaupapa and we are looking forward to hosting our whānau from around te ao and providing every opportunity for them to connect in with their extended whānau, learn about their tūpuna and our history and hopefully, especially our urban whānau, encourage them to come home, and be part of the fabric of our Iwi once again”.

Further details about location and how you can be involved will be shared on the Whakatōhea Pre Settlement Claims Trust website and social media pages as soon as they have been confirmed.

E roi te Whakatōhea i te roi a Tinirau. Whakatōhea, united by kinship.

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