Claims on historical human rights wrongs: The Ngai Tahu Settlement - South Island of New Zealand, Britain has faced suits and calls for compensation from Hindraf Malaysia, India and now Jamaica

Editor's note: I've been interested in several news headlines on historical human rights issues. Colonial era issues are hitting news headlines as some see past damage reverberating into the modern day.

4 October 2015: The Ngai Tahu Settlement - South Island of New Zealand

Editor's note: Thanks to a Kiwi friend pointing this one out!

When seven high-ranking southern chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, it was seen as a convenient arrangement between equals. By 1849 when the Crown began defaulting on the terms of a series of ten major land purchases dating from 1844, earlier suspicions of the Crown’s good faith by some of the Ngāi Tahu chiefs were confirmed, and the Ngāi Tahu Claim ‘Te Kerēme’ was born. The Crown undertook to set aside adequate reserves to have been approximately 10% of the 34.5 million acres sold – but this was never done.There were also disputes over boundaries, and the Crown’s failure to establish schools and hospitals, as promised. In addition, the tribe lost its access to its mahinga kai, or food gathering resources, and other sacred places such as urupa. Ngāi Tahu made its first claim against the Crown for breach of contract in 1849.....Robbed of the opportunity to participate in the land-based economy alongside the settlers, Ngāi Tahu became an impoverished and virtually landless tribe. Its full claim involved some 3.4 million acres of lost land, one-tenth of the Ngāi Tahu land total sold to the Crown.....When Ngāi Tahu first took its case to the courts, in 1868, the government passed laws to prevent the Courts from hearing or ruling on the case. A Commission of Inquiry a decade later – the Smith-Nairn Commission, had its funding halted by a new Government and went into recess without delivering any findings despite positive progress reports.....By the time of the findings on the Ngāi Tahu land claim by the Waitangi Tribunal in 1991, at least a dozen different commissions, inquiries, courts and tribunals had repeatedly established the veracity and justice of the Ngāi Tahu claim..... “The Tribunal cannot avoid the conclusion that in acquiring from Ngāi Tahu 34.5 million acres, more than half the land mass of New Zealand, for £14,750 pounds, and leaving them with only 35,757 acres, the Crown acted unconscionably and in repeated breach of the Treaty of Waitaingi”......“As a consequence, Ngāi Tahu has suffered grave injustices over more than 140 years. The tribe is clearly entitled to very substantial redress from the Crown”....Ngāi Tahu did not suffer openly declared raupatu or confiscations, as happened in the north. However, the Crown’s action in taking land and refusing to meet it’s contract obligation to allocate one-tenth to the iwi, deprived five generations of the tribe of virtually all the land and resources required to survive at anything other than subsistence level. By the early 1900s, fewer than 2,000 Ngāi Tahu remained alive in their own land.....Following the intervention of the then Prime Minister, Mr Jim Bolger, negotiations were resumed in 1996. They led to the signing of the non-binding Heads of Agreement on the 5th of October 1996, then the signing of the Deed of Settlement at Kaikōura on the 21st November 1997, and the passage of the Ngāi Tahu Claim Settlement Act on the 29th September 1998... Ngāi Tahu received cultural redress in the form of confirmation of the ability for Ngāi Tahu to express its traditional kaitiaki relationship with the environment, tribal redress, an apology from the Crown, acknowledgement of the role of our taonga Aoraki and economic redress in the form of a payment of $170 million plus the ability to purchase property from the Crown. .... This financial acknowledgement has allowed the tribe to establish itself as an economic powerhouse within the South Island. Today, Ngāi Tahu has interests in fishing, tourism, property as well as a diversified equities portfolio, all of which are managed through Ngāi Tahu Holdings Ltd..... This financial security enables the tribe to deliver social benefits back to iwi members through The Office of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu..... To enroll as a beneficiary of Ngāi Tahu iwi members must be able to whakapapa – or trace ancestry back to the official census list of all Ngāi Tahu living in 1848 – the so-called ‘Blue Book.’ This valuable resource has enabled many people to verify their roots, and has provided a model for other tribes. Today Ngāi Tahu can be found living in every corner of the globe although the majority of Ngāi Tahu choose to live in New Zealand.

30 September 2015: Britain has faced suits and calls for compensation from Hindraf Malaysia, India and now Jamaica


Jamaica calls for Britain to pay billions of pounds in reparations for slavery - Downing Street says David Cameron does not believe compensation is the right approach ahead of his first official visit to Jamaica by Rowena Mason in New York Tuesday 29 September 2015 00.01 BST


Narendra Modi endorses Britain paying damages to India for colonial rule - Indian prime minister praises opposition MP Shashi Tharoor’s call for UK to pay compensation for centuries of economic destruction by Jason Burke in Delhi Friday 24 July 2015 09.17 BST


Hindraf’s class action suit struck out by FMT Reporters  | April 2, 2015  But European Human Rights Convention may still offer recourse, says judge...

Hindraf’s suit against UK all about current racism by P Waythamoorthy     Published 25 Mar 2015, 3:32 pm     Updated 25 Mar 2015, 3:34 pm; Hindraf’s civil action at the Royal Court of Justice London to be heard on the March 30, 2015 is about the role played by Britain in seeding the current polarised and imbalanced situation both on entrenched racism and Islamisation of Malaysia after 58 years of independence.   Hindraf wishes to reiterate that the suit would no doubt be beneficial to all Malaysians who seek human rights and equality. The suit is filed on behalf of the Indian Malaysians to overcome various legal hurdles in the unprecedented case which is likely to expand the law beyond the current narrow interpretations of the law of tort and international laws. Hindraf would seek to prove that Britain owed a duty of care to Indian Malayans in 1957 as the Indians from the plantations then were of the third and fourth generations and thus were citizens of the UK and Colonies by virtue of the British Nationalit  Act 1948. The civil suit, backed up by thousands of pages of documentary evidence obtained from declassified documents in  London, would substitute oral evidence needed to prove the case. Hindraf would prove that the constitution granted and approved by the British cabinet and Parliament did not meet the minimum standard required of a constitution... Read more:,

The Hindraf lawsuit in London on March 30, Latest update (2 April 2015):... 3. Waytha, who is representing the claimants (descendants of indentured Indian labour), says that the British Nationality Act 1948 meant that the third and fourth generation of Indian plantation workers in Malaya were citizens in a UK colony as India had been under British rule. By virtue of these rubber tappers being citizens of a British colony, Britain owed a duty of care to them and the other Indian workers imported into Malaya by the colonial masters. The Hindraf class action suit calls to account the British government for its role in the marginalized socio-economic status of the Indian community today as a result of racial discrimination....