On the 24th July 2017 the Ngatiwai Trust Board filed an urgent hearing application with the Waitangi Tribunal in opposition to the Crown’s overlapping claim process and offers of redress to a number of Iwi from the Hauraki Region.
The Ngatiwai Trust Board say that the Crown has breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi by providing Hauraki redress that extends into the Ngatiwai rohe without any understanding of why. The Trust Board also say that the Crown’s overlapping claims process hasn’t worked and there has been no real process to resolve the competing claims in a tikanga Maori way.
On the 24th August 2017 the Waitangi Tribunal confirmed that it had, at that stage, received eight urgent hearing applications about the same or similar complaints, and include:
- Wai 2626, the Hauraki Collective Deed of Settlement (Ngai Te Rangi) claim;
- Wai 2617, the Hauraki Collective Deed of Settlement (Te Arawa) claim;
- Wai 2652, the Hauraki Collective Deed of Settlement (Mangakahia) claim;
- Wai 2653, the Hauraki Collective Deed of Settlement (Te Whakakitenga) claim;
- Wai 2664, the Hauraki Collective Deed of Settlement (Maatai Ariki R Kauae Te Toki) claim
- Wai 2665, the Hauraki Collective Deed of Settlement (Patrick Nicholas) claim;
- Wai 2666, the Hauraki Collective Deed of Settlement (Ngati Wai) claim; and
- Wai 2667, the Hauraki Collective Deed of Settlement (Ngati Rahiri Tumutumu) claim.
In response to the Ngatiwai Trusts Board’s application, the Crown initially had until Thursday 7th September 2017 to respond to the application for an urgent hearing. However on 7th September the Crown requested an additional month to respond admitting that the issues raised in the application were “complex” and that they needed to obtain complete instructions to be able to file a response. If this request is granted by the Waitangi Tribunal the Trust Board will be advised of when it should file its submission in reply. After that we expect the Waitangi Tribunal to make a decision if an urgent hearing will be granted. If an urgent hearing is granted to hear the Boards claims, it may be some time before a date is set for the hearings.
At the end of July 2017 the Ngatiwai Trust Board were encouraged when the Treaty Minister, Chris Finlayson, said in parliament, “There are difficult overlapping issues that the Minister for Māori Development and I are seeking to address at the present time”. He also said that he was “very conscious of the desire not to have any overlapping interests lead to further contention.”
Despite those words from the Minister, Ngatiwai Chairman, Haydn Edmonds, says, “After being initially encouraged by what the Minister said, I am now struggling with his statement as I now find out that he has:
- Amended for the second time the Deed of Settlement with Ngai Tai ki Tamaki on the 28th July 2017;
- Signed the Ngati Hei Deed of Settlement on 17th August 2017;
- Initialled the Ngāti Pāoa Deed of Settlement on the 18th August 2017;
- Initialled the Ngaati Whanaunga Deed of Settlement on the 25th August;
Haydn says, “If the proposed redress offered to these various Hauraki groups is progressed into legislation, the rights and interests of all of Ngāti Wai will be significantly and irreversibly prejudiced in what I would consider to be a modern day breach of the Treaty.”
“I personally feel the Crown is interfering in matters it has no real understanding of. It is re-engineering tribal authority by dishing out land and other redress in places where there is no basis for that redress. It’s like a lolly scramble designed to please those it is currently in negotiations with.”
The Ngātiwai Trust Board has been attending the recent meetings of Ngātiwai Kāhui Kaumātua and has kept them informed of these and other issues the Trust Board is currently facing.
Haydn says, “It is very important that we have our kaumātua up to speed and informed on these issues as we will be seeking their guidance and advice to assist us with a meeting with the Hauraki Iwi. It is with their direction that I believe a tikanga based process needs to be followed to resolve the disputed redress offered to Hauraki Iwi from the Crown.”
“I encourage whānau to visit our website and go to the ‘Resources’ page. Under the Overlapping Claims section you will find all the documents that we have submitted to the Waitangi Tribunal in regards to our claim against the Crown. I also encourage you to continue to attend the quarterly hui-a-iwi we hold where these and other matters are discussed in more detail.”
“There is a lot going on at this time and we will do our best to keep all of our iwi members informed regarding the current issues and matters we are dealing with as a Trust Board.”
Ngatiwai Trust Board website Resource Centre – www.ngatiwai.iwi.nz/resources