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FACTBOX: Sealords,treelords: NZ's million-dollar Treaty deals

(For related story see NEWZEALAND MAORI/SETTLEMENT or [ID:nWEL208649])

June 25 (Reuters) - New Zealand signed a historic NZ$400 million 'Treelords' foresty deal on Wednesday that returns ownership of central New Zealand forests to Maori tribes, the largest ever deal to be agreed under the Treaty of Waitangi.

Over the past two decades, various governments have settled a series of claims lodged by Maori -- the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand, and about 15 percent of its 4.2 million people -- that stem from grievances over colonial-era land grabs and rights violations.

The claims are known as Treaty claims, as they trace back to promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi, the country's founding document, signed by the British Crown and Maori leaders in 1840.

Here are some facts on the country's four biggest Treaty settlements to date:

* FORESTS: THE 'TREELORD' DEAL: June 2008

-- The largest deal yet, worth NZ$400 million, hailed as a breakthrough reconciliation step.

-- It covers seven tribes' or iwi claims to 176,000 hectares (435,000 acres) forest in the central North Island. Its terms divide land valued at NZ$196 million and backdated rentals of NZ$223 million between about 100,000 people.

-- Maori will also benefit through gaining carbon credits for the forests they have been given back.

* ANCESTRAL LANDS:

-- TAINUI, May 1995: NZ$170 million cash and land settlement redressed the Tainui iwi's claims to lands confiscated in the central North Island's Waikato area after 1860s land wars. It included a formal apology for the actions taken in the wars and their legacy.

-- NGAI TAHU, Nov 1997: NZ$170 million settlement saw South Island's Nagi Tahu iwi compensated for 34.5 million acres -- more than half the land mass of New Zealand -- of land the Tribunal ruled was stolen in 1840s land purchases in acts of "unconscionable theft".

* FISHERIES: THE 'SEALORD' DEAL: Sept 1992

-- For more than 100 years Maori groups from across the country argued the Treaty's guarantee of "full exclusive possession of their fisheries" had not been fulfilled.

-- The NZ$170 million 'Sealord' Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Settlement restructured commercial fishing rights, giving Maori a major share of NZ's biggest fishing company, Sealord Products Ltd, and extinguishing all other claims.

Sources: Reuters, Office of Treaty Settlements (

www.ots.govt.nz/

)

Writing by Gillian Murdoch, Beijing Editorial Reference Unit

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