Back to search results

printable versionPrint this page

Waikato-Tainui Deed of Settlement

Date: 22 May 1995
Sub Category:Deed of Settlement (New Zealand)
Place:Waikato region, Central North Island
State/Country:Aotearoa - New Zealand
  • Financial and Commercial Redress (New Zealand) - New Zealand Government ($170,000,000)
  • Subject Matter:Compensation | Cultural Heritage | Land Settlement | Recognition of Native Title or Traditional Ownership | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests
    Summary Information:
    The Waikato claims relate to breaches by the Crown of its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi, in particular the initiation of armed conflict with the iwi in 1863-4 and subsequent forced confiscation of its land. Waikato have sought redress since at least 1884. They have sought the return of their land and monetary compensation for the Crown's breaches of its obligations.

    In 1987 Robert Te Kotahi Mahuta lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of Waikato, the Tainui Maaori Trust Board and Nga Marae Toopu. Negotiations on a settlement began in 1989 after the Crown acknowledged that its breaches of the Waitangi Treaty were unjust. An agreement in principle was reached and in 1993 the Crown vested the Te Rapa Air Force Base in Potatau Te Wherowhero for the benefit of Waikato as a gesture of goodwill.

    This settlement includes a formal acknowledgement by the Crown of breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles, and a Crown apology. Redress in the form of land and compensation will be transferred to a trust for the benefit of members of Waikato-Tainui as a whole rather than individually.
    Detailed Information:
    Deed of Settlement

    This settlement concludes claims on behalf of 34 hapu of Waikato listed in the Deed, as well as the claims of the Tainui Maaori Trust Board and Nga Marae Toopu. It expressly excludes Waikato-Tainui claims relating to the Waikato River and harbours in the region; the Wairoa and Waiuku blocks; Waikato-Tainui claims to land outside of the area which was taken in 1863-4; and other specific claims. Certain other claims are meant to be encompassed by the settlement and the members of Waikato-Tainui agree 'to use their best endeavours to ensure that the Overlapping Claims are withdrawn'. Waikato-Tainui also agree to support any attempt by the Crown to resolve certain Cross Claims before the Waitangi Tribunal.

    Waikato-Tainui agree that this Deed of Settlement and the Settlement Legislation will settle their claims and release the Crown from liability in respect of those claims. The Deed acknowledges that the Settlement is fair in the circumstances and all parties have acted honourably and reasonably. It is also noted that the agreement has been 'entered into with knowledge of the Crown's proposed policy for settling natural resources claims' and that this does not entail acceptance of that policy by Waikato-Tainui.

    A Deed of Settlement is reached once a claim has been registered with the Waitangi Tribunal and has completed the settlement process of negotiation, ratification and execution, and in most circumstances, is accompanied by a statute implementing the settlement. For more detailed information, see 'Deed of Settlement' below.

    Crown Acknowledgement and Apology

    The Crown acknowledges its breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, including sending troops across the Mangataawhiri Stream and unjustly labelling the members of Waikato-Tainui as rebels. The Crown also acknowledges that the settlement is belated, that the Waikato land which was confiscated has contributed to the development of New Zealand (it is worth an estimated $12 billion) and that the iwi is foregoing much of the redress it sought in this Settlement.

    The Crown apologises to Waikato-Tainui for invading their land and for the consequential loss of life, damage to property, taonga (artefacts) the welfare, economy and development of the iwi, as well as the enduring grief and distress this caused.


    The Deed acknowledges that some 47,000 acres of land in the Waikato region is significant to Waikato-Tainui. The iwi gifts that land through giving up its claims to it under this Settlement so that it can continue to be held by the Crown for conservation and the benefit of all inhabitants of New Zealand.

    Financial and commercial redress is intended to compensate Waikato-Tainui for economic loss arising from Crown breaches of its obligations under the Waitangi Treaty and to give Waikato-Tainui the means to enhance the economic and social position of its members. It includes a combination of cash and Crown-owned land up to a value of $170 million (the 'Redress Amount'), and a right of first refusal over certain Crown-owned properties.

    It is proposed that approximately 29,803 acres be transferred to a trust for the benefit of Waikato-Tainui. The iwi can elect to refuse some of the land if it wishes and some of it will be transferred subject to its being leased back to the Crown. The value of the land will be deducted from the Redress Amount, as will as the claimant's costs which have already been reimbursed by the Crown, and the value of the Te Rapa Air Force Base which has already been transferred to Waikato-Tainui.

    The Redress Amount is 17% of the amount set aside by the Government in 1992 for the purpose of settling Historical Claims.


    The Deed of Settlement was signed by the Maori queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, as the mandated representative of Waikato-Tainui and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, James Bolger, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand.
    The Deed of Settlement became unconditional upon the enactment of the Waikato Raupatu Claims Settlement Act 1995.

    Related Entries

  • Treaty of Waitangi
  • Waikato River Deed of Settlement
  • Organisation
  • New Zealand Government - Signatory
  • Waitangi Tribunal
  • Office of Treaty Settlements
  • People
  • Waikato-Tainui People - Signatory

  • Glossary

    Deed of Settlement (New Zealand) | Settlement Legislation (New Zealand) | Iwi (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

    Top of page

    Was this useful? Click here to fill in the ATNS survey