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Tribunal Recommends Crown Suspend Wananga Action

Tribunal Recommends Crown Suspend Action On Wananga

The Waitangi Tribunal has today recommended that the Crown and Te Wananga o Aotearoa Council suspend all critical actions or decisions relating to the future direction of Te Wananga o Aotearoa until the Tribunal’s inquiry and report are completed.

The Waitangi Tribunal has granted urgency on the claim lodged by Harold Maniapoto and Dr Tui Adams on behalf of the Aotearoa Institute. The claim is likely to be heard over three days from 30 November to 2 December 2005.

The Tribunal has undertaken to report on this claim before the end of 2005.

The Tribunal has found that the Claimants have made out a serious case that merits inquiry by the Tribunal and that the evidence available seems to show increasing intervention by the Crown in the affairs of the Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

The Tribunal concluded that:

“The Tribunal has little doubt that if the draft charter and profile is put in place and implemented it will mean a significant and ongoing change to the vision and future of TWOA [Te Wananga o Aotearoa] as conceived by its original founders, the claimants. If the claimants are correct in their assertion that they have not been consulted on the future direction of TWOA in accordance with Treaty principles, then they will have suffered irreversible prejudice by reason of loss of a degree of control and input into the future of the institution that they created.”

The Tribunal has stated the inquiry will focus on:

The role that the Claimants ought to be able to play in determining the future direction of Te Wananga o Aotearoa;

The role of the Crown in those decisions;

The Treaty responsibilities of the Crown in ensuring that the Claimants can take up that role; and

The question of what a wananga is, and how best to achieve a proper conception of the wananga that will inform the process of putting a charter in place to guide the future of Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Harold Maniapoto and Dr Tui Adams said today that they were delighted that the Waitangi Tribunal has decided to hear the claim as a matter of urgency. They believe they have been absolutely vindicated by the Tribunal’s decision.

“This is precisely what we needed the Waitangi Tribunal to do. The Crown has condoned an illegal Te Wananga o Aotearoa Council, which is in the process of making major decisions that will fundamentally change the nature of Te Wananga o Aotearoa and turn it into a significantly reduced and apartheid institution. The illegal Council is effectively closing key courses including the Small Business, Computing and Core Trade courses. The Crown and the Council must now stop taking any further action until the Tribunal has conducted its inquiry. We now look forward to the Crown having to engage seriously with the iwi communities that created Te Wananga o Aotearoa and to explain its behaviour as a Treaty partner to an independent and impartial tribunal.”

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