TRIBUNAL SUPPORTS MAORI COMPENSATION, LAND CLAIMS

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 17) - A New Zealand
tribunal has supported a multi-million dollar Maori compensation claim, and the
return of thousands of hectares of land for alleged breaches of a 19th-century
treaty.

The Waitangi Tribunal said that the capital of Wellington was
settled by colonists who breached the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, between Maori
chiefs and the British Crown.

The Tribunal's 16 year study also found that the 1839 deed by
which the New Zealand company purchased the Port Nicholson block was invalid,
conferring no rights on the company or its settlers.

The New Zealand government has welcomed the report as "useful
information," but adds the Waitangi tribunal's findings are not binding.

May 19, 2003

Radio Australia:
www.abc.net.au/ra

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