20th century: attempts at redress
Several partial attempts were made by the Crown throughout the 20th century to compensate Te Āti Awa for past injustices. For example, in the 1920s the Sim Commission recommended some compensation; however, it did not properly investigate issues such as the return of confiscated land, sacred sites or other treasures.
By the 1930s a settlement sum had been agreed by the government without consultation with Taranaki tribes, including Te Āti Awa. Although the Taranaki Māori Claims Act 1944 stated that a full settlement for the wrongs admitted by the Crown towards the local people had been reached, there is little evidence that this was the Māori understanding. At the same time that these settlements were being arranged, land which had been held in reserve for Māori was still being sold off or locked into perpetual leases. By 1974, 63% of reserves held in the Public Trust for Taranaki tribes had been sold.
In 2013 more than 15,000 people claimed descent from Te Āti Awa of Taranaki. In 1996 the Waitangi Tribunal acknowledged past breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and Te Āti Awa’s right to apply for compensation for land confiscation. In 1998 negotiations began towards a deed of settlement.
Te Āti Awa of Taranaki’s historic treaty claims were finally settled on 9 August 2014. The settlement was valued at $87 million, including payments made earlier, plus a cultural fund of $985,000. Several relationship agreements were made with Crown agencies – for example, with the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in relation to petroleum and minerals.