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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2006, 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK
Maori claim to British pensions
The descendant of a New Zealand Maori warrior chief is campaigning for his people to claim British pensions.

David Rankin is a direct descendent of Hone Heke who played a key part in the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi between indigenous leaders and the British.

He said he would make the claim under Article Three of the treaty, which guarantees Maori "the same rights and privileges as British subjects".

Mr Rankin, head of the Matarahurahu subtribe, is considering other claims.

"We may expand the claim to include British passports, unemployment benefits, and other entitlements," he said.

Mr Rankin said he planned to lodge the claim with the government-funded Waitangi Tribunal.

The tribunal hears claims brought by the indigenous people under the treaty and makes recommendations, which may or may not be taken up by the government.

Hone Heke was the first of the indigenous leaders to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, which pledged protection of Maori land and established British law in New Zealand.

But he later cut down the British flagpole three times as suspicions grew that Maori rights were being breached by the British, leading to a major conflict between the two sides.

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