Government Approach Endorsed By Waitangi Tribunal
The Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Margaret Wilson, welcomes the decision of the Waitangi Tribunal to reject the claims of the Tangahoe and Pakakohi incorporations against the inclusion of their claims within the settlement of the Ngati Ruanui iwi of South Taranaki.
The decision was released today.
Ms Wilson said the Tribunal had endorsed the Crown’s approach of settling historical claims with large natural groupings, such as iwi. The tribunal said there appeared to be sound practical and policy reasons for settling at iwi or hapu aggregation level where that is at all possible.
"The interests of smaller groups must always be recognised," said Ms Wilson.
"But negotiating with larger groups means much more progress can be made, and the risk of fragmentation and confusion is reduced. The Tribunal decision supporting the Crown approach will have implications in all areas where the issue of the interests of smaller groups is important.
“The decision affirms the Crown’s view that while Tangahoe and Pakakohi have distinctive features, they are part of the wider Ngati Ruanui claimant community and it is appropriate for their claims to be addressed as part of the Ngati Ruanui settlement.
“With this report, any last barrier to the Crown and the Working Party initialling a Deed of Settlement by the end of the year for the settling of the historical claims of Ngati Ruanui, including Tangahoe and Pakakohi, have been removed. Just redress for this claimant community is long overdue," said Ms Wilson.
The Tribunal found that there was no reason to halt the Ngati Ruanui settlement or to change the approach adopted by the Crown and the Working Party representing the Ngati Ruanui claimant community.
Once the Deed of Settlement is initialled it will be put to the claimant community for their vote. If ratified, the Deed of Settlement could be signed as early as February next year, and would be the first of the Taranaki claims to reach this stage in the Treaty Settlement process.
The Tribunal has also noted that it is important that recognition is given to Tangahoe and Pakakohi distinctiveness within the Deed of Settlement and the governance entity that will receive and manage the settlement.
“The Crown and the Working Party have been working since before the Tribunal hearing to ensure that appropriate recognition is given to Tangahoe and Pakakohi in the settlement. This process will continue," said Ms Wilson.