Since the Tribunal released its findings on the Ngātiwai Trust Board mandate in October 2017 the Board has discussed these findings and recommendations at hui-a-iwi and kaumātua hui over the past two years.
Discussions have been focused on the Board not being “fit for purpose” and what “fit for purpose” actually looks like; hapū autonomy, hapū rangatiratanga, the consent of hapū to be included in the mandate and the origins of Ngātiwai and the Ngātiwai Trust Board.
As the Tribunal recommended a mediation process funded by the Crown as a next step, the Board has been working on developing draft proposals consistent with the Tribunal’s recommendations for the Crown to fund. The Crown has agreed to support the Ngātiwai claimant community coming together to resolve the current mandate issues with funding to be made available for mediation costs.
The Board realise that working through the recommended mediation process as set out by the Waitangi Tribunal will have its challenges. We also realise that for all parties to enter any mediation with confidence, everyone needs to enter into these having being fairly resourced and funded. So discussions that the Board have had with the Crown about mediation have focused on ensuring that funding allowances are made for all parties.
These will be tough discussions to have, but the Board is genuine in its desire to enter meaningful mediation in good faith.
Hauraki Overlapping Claims Inquiry:
The Board filed its reply submissions to the Crown’s closing submissions on Friday 12 July 2019.
In our closing submission we concluded that the Crown has failed to protect the interests of Ngātiwai during the course of the negotiations and overlapping claims processes it undertook with Hauraki. During their negotiations with Hauraki, the Crown has inappropriately acknowledged Hauraki customary interests within the Ngātiwai rohe, and recognised mana whenua and mana moana where it does not exist.
We feel the Crown has not acted in accordance with tikanga and have stated that it cannot ensure tikanga is adhered to even though it has an obligation to ensure tikanga is followed. We believe through this process, the Crown has allowed the takahi of the rangatiratanga of Ngātiwai.
Through this process the Crown has not acted fairly and impartially towards Ngātiwai. The Crown favoured Hauraki when agreeing with Hauraki that issues between iwi were irreconcilable. This has allowed Hauraki to have an unfair advantage over Ngātiwai and resulted in redress that prejudices Ngātiwai. The Crown has further created divisions and damaged the relationships between Ngātiwai and the iwi of Hauraki.
We now await the findings and recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal. As an outcome to these hearings, Ngātiwai would like to engage in a tika and pono tikanga process on the marae with the tribes of Hauraki to resolve these important issues. Ngātiwai would like to korero with Hauraki to understand why their proposed redress extends so far into the Ngātiwai Rohe and why they are continuing to do so without the consent of Ngātiwai. Through a tikanga process we would like to discuss why we feel the proposed Hauraki redress has undermined the mana whenua, rangatiratanga, mana moana and tikanga of Ngātiwai. Through this process it is hopeful that we can heal the divisions and damaged relationships both within Ngātiwai and between Ngātiwai and the iwi of Hauraki; and also the partnership between the Crown and Ngātiwai to move forward in a positive way that all parties are happy with.
The submissions have been uploaded to the Board’s website and can be viewed here: https://bit.ly/32LVgUh
This now concludes the Board’s participation in the urgent inquiry and the next step is for the Tribunal to release its report, findings and recommendations.
MACA Kaupapa Inquiry:
The Board filed its closing submission on Monday 24 June 2019 for stage one of this inquiry.
In our submissions the Board are saying that under Te Tiriti (The Treaty of Waitangi) Ngātiwai has suffered and will continue to suffer prejudice by being trapped in an expensive High Court process with costs that are beyond our control. Ngātiwai are being subject to the Crown MACA Act procedures and resources which are of no benefit to Ngātiwai. As a direct consequence of this Act, Ngātiwai is unable to respond to the wave of MACA related resource consent applications which will result in further alienation of Ngātiwai takutai moana. And of the greatest concern is being involved in a process that can result in damage to whakawhanaungatanga relationships.
The Ngātiwai Trust Board are seeking clear recommendations from the Waitangi Tribunal. We are asking that the MACA Act applications are managed in the Māori Land Court not the High Court so as to allow for tikanga matters to be accommodated appropriately. We are requesting an urgent moratorium on any further MACA Act related resource consents in the takutai moana, until a full review of all existing MACA Act related resource consents are carried out. We would like to see safeguards developed to ensure that any further MACA Act related resource consents are managed in a Treaty compliant manner. A review of MACA funding needs to be initiated for both High Court applicants and direct engagement applicants with provision for the Board to make further submissions as it progresses its High Court application – in untested waters.
These submissions are available to view on our website via the following link:
Hearings for closing submissions were held from 31 July to 2 August 2019 in Wellington. Our legal team from Henderson Reeves attended the hearings on our behalf to present our closing submissions to the Tribunal.
The stage two hearings are tentatively scheduled to take place in March 2020.
MACA High Court Application:
The second round of High Court case management conferences took place in June 2019. It was observed at these hearings that very few applicants made any progress on discussing overlapping claims - including the Board. The Board intend to hold specific hui on the MACA process in the New Year.
However, some Ngātiwai applicants, including our whanau from Whananaki and Whangaruru, have made progress on advancing their research.
The Whananaki application has been submitted on behalf of Te Whanau Whero hapū. Their Marine and Coastal Application is seeking title to the foreshore and seabed area contained within the original boundaries of "Te Ruatahi", including recognition of customary fishing and kai moana gathering practices from areas within Te Ruatahi and areas beyond as were practiced by their tūpuna.
Research is being undertaken by Te Whanau Whero involving a small team of dedicated whānau - Takapari Waata (Applicant), Hohi Waata-Riini (Kuia), Joeann Walters (Lead Researcher), Elizabeth Riini, Jeanette Walters Ashby, Ranginui Walters (Kuia), and John Moore (Tiatoa) and Krystal Worters who joined our team earlier this year.
Whananaki and Te Whanau Whero kuia Hohi Waata-Riini says, “When it comes to Te Ruatahi, we are a very passionate people and we have a history of protecting our whenua and moana - Tū Kaha Te Whanau Whero!"
The Board is currently working with an Historian to undertake historical research for the purpose of MACA and will be looking to commence kaumātua interviews on oral histories soon.