NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT - MAORI LAND SETTLEMENT

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (September 24, 1997 - Radio Australia)---The New Zealand government will apologize and pay compensation of more than $AUS100 million in a settlement for taking Maori land during the last century.

After six years of negotiation, an agreement was initialed in Parliament yesterday by Treaty Negotiations Minister Doug Graham and Chief Negotiator for the Ngai Tahu Tribe Sir Tipene O'Regan.

They hailed the final offer of $AUS107 million and the apology as a chance for the British Crown and the Tribe to renew the relationship originally intended under the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi.

Yesterday's agreement covers large areas of New Zealand's South Island, including high country stations, fishing reserves, and the country's tallest mountain, Mount Cook.

Under the settlement, Mount Cook will be handed back to the Tribe after being renamed Aoraki-Mount Cook. It will then be given back to the New Zealand nation.

The accord now goes to the Tribe's 12,000 members for approval.

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