Te Atiawa Claim (Taranaki)

Wikitoria Passes Away 

Wikitoria signing the Deed of Settlement, 9 August 2015, at Rangiatea, New Plymouth.

On Christmas Day 2014, our sister / mother / auntie / grandmother Wikitoria Keenan passed away, suddenly at about 8 am.

Wikitoria was the negotiator of the Te Ātiawa claim with Peter Moeahu; both did outstanding work in seeing the claim over the line on 9 August 2014, Wikitoria was the ariki of the Keenan whānau and will be greatly missed.

A small private service of farewell was held on 30 December 2014, at which her granddaughter Tessa and son Justin paid eloquent tribute to her awesome life, as did Peter. Rangikoutuku Rukuwai, our whānau kaumatua, presented karakia. Wikitoria’s neices and granddaughter – Cilla, Lauren, Josie, Emily, Erin, Philippa and Tessa – presented a concluding waiata tangi.

Chargn, Sophie (seated), Tessa and Catherine alongside Wikitoria's place of burial, Waitapu Ūrupa, Ngāmotu, New Plymouth.

Wikitoria’s ashes were interred at Waitapu Urupa, Ngamotu, on Easter Saturday 4 April 2015. A commemoration service was held with many speakers, performance and waiata.

About 500 people attended. After the service, Wiki’s ashes were carried up to the urupa by her son Justin with Catherine, Tessa and Theo, followed by a hikoi of whānau and well wishers. Afterwards, an awesome kai was enjoyed by all.

Wikitoria’s whānau are very grateful to those who came and made her celebration so special; also, thanks heaps to those who sent their best wishes.


The Te Ātiawa (Taranaki) Claim 

The Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Hon Chris Finlayson, and the Associate Minister of Treaty Settlements, Hon Tariana Turia, sign the Te Ātiawa Deed of Settlement. at Rangiatea, New Plymouth, on 9 August 2014.


As a special case study into the intricacies of the complex claims process, we will focus here in more detail upon the Tribunal Claim of the Te Ātiawa iwi of North Taranaki.

In providing such a focus, it is hoped that some appreciation of the influence and legacy of the Claims process upon Māori might be achieved.

Settling the Te Ātiawa (Taranaki) Claim 

The Te Atiawa (Taranaki) claim was launched in 1990 at Owae Marae, Waitara. To read more of the origins of the Te Ātiawa Claim, click here – # Origins of Te Ātiawa Claim. 

The Te Ātiawa Claim process lasted for 24 years and proved to be exceedingly complex, culturally, legally and, not least, politically.

In 1996, after six years of careful deliberations, the Waitangi Tribunal issued its first Report on the Taranaki investigations. The Report canvassed in prodigious detail the histories underlying the multiple Claims lodged by the 8 tribes of Taranaki, of which Te Ātiawa was one. The other iwi of Taranaki are Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Ruahine, Taranaki Tuturu, Ngāti Mtunga, Ngāti Tama and Ngāti Maru.

Wikitoria, with her neices Lauren Keenan and Dr Erin Keenan , in Parliament on their way to sign the Heads of Agreement, 2012.

After the Report was issued, individual iwi proceeded with their respective negotiations towards settlement. The final years of the Te Ātiawa – Crown negotiations were marred by internal dissent.

In 2014, the Te Ātiawa  Claim was finally settled with the signing of a Deed of Settlement in New Plymouth. Negotiations amongst Te Ātiawa  in preparation for this historic signing continued to be marred with disagreements.

For an account of the signing of the Deed of Settlement, and the events leading to that occasion, see here – Signing the Deed of Settlement 2014.