Lengthy Waitangi Tribunal hearings into the Northern South Island claims concluded in early 2004. The claims involved eight separate iwi and covered a vast area north of the Buller River on the West Coast and the Clarence River on the east coast. Each iwi was afforded the opportunity to present its claims in a series of intensive week-long hearings in Nelson, Blenheim, Motueka, and Takaka.
The claims focused on the nature and extent of overlapping customary rights, New Zealand Company claims, Crown purchases and the actions of the Native Land Court in the nineteenth century.
A Tribunal report on the claims is expected in 2006. Ngai Tahu claims were reported on by the Tribunal in 1991, and the conclusion of this inquiry thus marks the end of Waitangi Tribunal hearings in the South Island, at least as far as historical claims are concerned.
HistoryWorks director David Armstrong was fully involved in this hearing process, and presented extensive evidence on behalf of two Northern South Island iwi – Ngati Apa and Rangitane.
[Added 12 October 2005]