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Party Calls for Iwi to Exercise Rangatiratanga

Maori Party Calls for Iwi to Exercise Rangatiratanga

Regarding Land Grabs

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Te Ururoa Flavell;

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Spokesperson for the Maori Party

Maori Party Treaty Spokesperson, Te Ururoa Flavell, today used the momentum of Pakaitore Day to call for iwi to assert their rangatiratanga in the matters regarding treaty settlement claims.

“Today is an historic day” said Mr Flavell. “We commend the courage and the vision of iwi throughout Aotearoa, who are reasserting their rangatiratanga rights over land which is contested land for treaty settlements”.

“We must be united and take direct action, to be strong in our resolve to uphold the mana of our whenua” said Mr Flavell.

“Maori are left with little recourse but to take direct action – if repossession of lands is what it takes for the Crown to recognise their rangatiratanga, then so be it” said Mr Flavell.

“If repossession (occupation) is what will get the Crown to the table, then the Maori Party will support these actions as part of a wider strategy to support Maori claims to justice” said Mr Flavell.

“We believe every avenue must be available to iwi, in their commitment to uphold Mana Whenua rights” said Mr Flavell.

Mana whenua is the principle which defines Mäori by the land occupied by right of ancestral claim.

“Mana Whenua is essential for Mäori well-being” explained Mr Flavell. “We celebrate and support all Mäori in their efforts to establish and maintain their connections to their own land”.

Simultaneous Action occurring throughout Aotearoa

Pakaitore, Whanganui

“In Whanganui at 10am today, Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party, will witness the signing by the Minister of Maori Affairs, of a deed of settlement with Whanganui to formalise the transfer of the Whanganui Courthouse to the iwi” said Mr Flavell.

“For the uri o Tamaupoko, Hinengakau, Tupoho, Ngati Rangi and Tamahaki, the Tupuna rohe o Whanganui, this day will take them back to 1995, when they celebrated their Whanganuiatanga at Pakaitore – repossessing their land, their marae, in their action to have their river and lands returned”.

Hauraki

“At much the same time (9am) the Hauraki Maori Trust Board has sought an urgent hearing in the High Court in Wellington for an interim injunction preventing the sale of a $10 million block of prime Coromandel land; land which should have been subject to negotiation with them” said Mr Flavell”.

Acting chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal; Judge Carrie Wainwright, concluded in her directions on 9 February 2007 that Ngāti Hei’s claims in relation to the Ngātea and Whenuakite properties were generally well founded and that Crown actions under the Native Land Acts had ultimately resulted in the tribe’s virtual landlessness.

“My colleague, Hone Harawira, has gone to join Hauraki Maori at Whenuakite this morning, to recognise the courage of their actions; and the success of the Tainui Waka alliance in securing an urgent meeting today with the Minister, Mark Burton”.

Ngati Kahu – Rangiputa Station

“Hone has come fresh from the hikoi of Ngati Kahu members, who repossessed Rangiputa station on the Karikari peninsula last week in protest at Landcorp’s proposal to sell a nine hectare coastal portion of their land”.

Mr Flavell also had some comments about the mishmash mismanagement being displayed by the Government in its mishandling of this whole situation.

“Both with Whenuakite and Rangiputa, it appears that Landcorp had offered the land back to the Office of Treaty Settlements which had turned it down” said Mr Flavell.

“The Prime Minister feigns ignorance – stating that she had been unaware about Landcorp sales proceeding and that she had learnt about the Hauraki situation through reading the Herald” said Mr Flavell.

“The Minister has been embarrassed by former Labour MP, Jim Sutton’s candid admission that the Office of Treaty Settlements may have made a mistake of judgement; and his advice that the State-owned farming company’s land is generally available for Treaty settlements.”

“That statement was a direct contradiction to a response the Minister gave in the House last Wednesday, when he suggested that Landcorp property was generally not available for use in settlements”.

“Mr Sutton appears to be alone in showing integrity, having had the guts to tell the truth, that there was obviously a claim on the land that Landcorp had not been aware of, adding further that if they had been aware of it, they would “of course” not have put it up for sale by tender" said Mr Flavell.

“OTS, the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, and the Prime Minister, need to get to grips with the situation – and fast” said Mr Flavell. "The tribes are tiring of the political obfuscations and manipulations".

Background

* 28 February 2007: Hauraki has lodged an urgent court injunction against the sale of land, supported by the New Zealand Maori Council and the Tainui waka alliance

* 25 February 2007: Hauraki Maori have repossessed an 1100 hectare block of land in Coromandel, Whenuakite Station, between Whitianga and Tairua. The land has an estimated value of $10 million.

* 23 February 2007: 500 Ngati Kahu members marched in a hikoi from Awanui to Kaitaia, protesting against the sale of their land by Landcorp.

* 18th February 2007: Far North iwi, Ngati Kahu moved on to a 9.2 hectare block of coastal land at Rangiputa Station overlooking the Rangaunu Harbour on 18th February 2007; repossessing land which they have identified up for negotiation in their land claim settlements with the Crown. The land is estimated to have a value of $5 million.

* April 2006 Landcorp was opposed by Tuwharetoa when it attempted to sell the 1500 hectare Taurewa block, south of Turangi. Claimants from Tuwharetoa and Whanganui iwi have interests in the property, estimated at $8-9million. A nearby block at Raurimu is also subject to dispute.

* Late 2005: The 1000 hectare Mangawhitiwhiti Block was onsold to Bearing South Group; land again disputed by Tuwharetoa.

* 1994: The State Owned enterprise sold 220 hectares at Wharewaka Point to an enterprise owned by the Singapore Government for $4.5 million, despite objections raised then by Tuwharetoa.


ENDS

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