Te Arawa Iwi and Hapu Claims Settlement Bill
Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapu Claims Settlement Bill
Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki
Tuesday 24 June 2008
Kei taku ariki, e Tumu
(Greetings to the House of Heuheu)
Kei nga iwi o te kainga kua tau mai ki te whare paremata i te rangi nei, tena tätou katoa. Kei te möhio tonu tätou mo te parekura o mate kua tau mai ki runga i a tätou i nga wiki tata kua hipa, heoi ano ko ta tätou ko te tangi, ko te tuku i te roimata me te hüpë kia heke hei tohu i te mamae o te ngäkau.
Nonatatanei ko tera o tätou, o Tuhourangi, ko Sonny Sewell. I mua i a ia, ko Hami Hahunga, ko Riparata McFarlane, ko Leah Ratana, ko Sharon Kennedy ma, ko Ani Eparaima, a, ko Mihipeka Edwards. Kati, waiho rätou kia moe, anei tätou kei te whare o te raiona i korerohia e rätou ma, no reira, tena koutou katoa.
Madam Speaker, let me acknowledge all of those who travelled to be here for this day. This settlement has been a long road.
I want to reflect on many Te Arawa koeke who have passed on without seeing the end results of the mahi. I speak of Bishop Manuhuia Bennett, Archbishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, Pinda Pirika and my own Sam Hahunga, Bonita Morehu and many others.
We think of those who passed the battle on to another generation simply because settling grievances is a tiring and stressful business. I think of all of them this afternoon.
I want to pay tribute to the actions of the new Treaty Negotiations Minister Dr Cullen in driving a wider settlement of central North Island forestry claims. There have been significant changes in the process over the past eighteen months, and we recognise the impact Dr Cullen has made in that time.
The number of settlements coming quickly to the table is of interest of course to the Maori Party. I ask myself what has happened to ‘up the tempo’ and make settlements a reality when over the last twelve months, claimant groups in the Waiariki region were bogged down in Tribunal hearings and in fact heading to Court?
This settlement itself was halted because the Crown was taken all the way to the High Court, all to do with the settlement that we will debating tomorrow. I ask why we could not have had intervention earlier when Tribunal report after Tribunal report said that there were issues with the process? Things could have been far and away easier.
I want to acknowledge also the part that may have been played by the Crown facilitators, for their facilitation over the last months which inevitably had an impact on the outcomes of today. Ka nui te mihi e hoa ma.
Ki nga ringaringa, nga waewae o te kaupapa nei, tena koutou katoa.
I want to place on record some of the korero about this settlement from someone who was there, was involved in many phases of the development through to this day.
If I can draw an analogy, on October 15th 2007, the Tuhoe tribal nation was invaded by the Police Force and while things have settled down, and the Court cases are still to happen and Tame Iti is able to go about his acting career, if you have been to Ruatoki, one is constantly reminded about the consequences of Police actions of that day. It seems however that no one has really taken any interest in the people and how they are or not coping.
Similarly, while it is not openly discussed, the process used to get to this point in this settlement, has had a significant impact on individuals, whanau, hapü and iwi and my hope is that this is recognised today.
For when people are driven by timelines and political conditions, whakapapa relationships can be left to the side, kinship ties of hundreds of years are forgotten, all because of the dangling dollar. These are the issues that will be spoken about on our marae for years when maybe many of us are gone.
So a comprehensive settlement that could have had all of the Te Arawa confederation settling together and therefore utilising our collective strength as stated in our korero,“Nga Pumanawa e waru o Te Arawa”, didn’t quite happen. We see about half of Te Arawa here today. Thankfully again Dr Cullen has heard the issues and has taken appropriate steps to look after the interests of those that have been left to the side.
I believe that if the process is not set in place properly from the very beginning, things are doomed to fail and be punctuated with problems along the way. It is my experience that this is what has happened and Dr Cullen alluded to some of this, as did other speakers. How do I know? I have been there, I have felt it, I have seen it, I have learnt from it.
There have been four Waitangi Tribunal reports, 2004, 2005 on mandate, and two particularly damning statements in 2007.
In June 2007, the Tribunal report expressed concern for Te Arawa as a whole and found, “serious flaws in the way the Crown consulted with non-settling Te Arawa groups”.
The report itemised the gross dis-satisfaction from a number of iwi; concluding that the Tribunal was left “fearing for the customary future of the Te Arawa waka”.
Just two months later in August 2007, the Tribunal added more parties to the list of those aggrieved, criticising the Crown’s failure to communicate the proposal to affected parties such as the Crown Forestry Rental Trust; New Zealand Maori Council and the Federation of Maori Authorities.
In fact the Tribunal could not endorse the Te Arawa settlement in its form at the time as it held grave concerns regarding potential negative impacts of the settlement on overlapping iwi and the durability of the future CNI settlements.
The August report detailed further Crown failures to protect the customary interests of various tribes condemning 'a dearth of direct engagement’ with the overlapping claimants.
The Tribunal laid it out for us to see – that
aspects of the deed of settlement and the Crown’s process are inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi;
that their experience with the Te Arawa Settlement process was likely to have a negative impact on the durability of future Central North Island Settlements;
that they had grave concerns regarding the adverse impact on overlapping iwi;
that with the Crown picking favourites; there was high risk of significant prejudice being experienced by Central North Island iwi outside of Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa;
that the Crown was making decisions in isolation, based on inadequate information;
and that as a consequence, the Tribunal urged
the Government to delay the proposed settlement; recognising
that failure to achieve reconciliation amongst iwi can
create enormous conflicts within and between iwi.
That, I think, Madam Speaker, has been one of the singular most tragic outcomes of this whole process; not only has the process exacerbated tensions between the Office of Treaty Settlements and iwi; but it also has pitted iwi against iwi.
Against this backdrop of disengagement and division, it is actually quite remarkable that we are even here today.
I have a deeply personal interest in this legislation, by virtue of my whakapapa through Ngati Rangiwewehi. No, we are not a signatory to this settlement but I tell some of this story, the story of Ngati Rangiwewehi, to give substance to the grief that so many of us have experienced in getting to this point.
In June 2004 I appeared before the Waitangi Tribunal to speak to the Te Arawa Taumata Claim. My submission outlined how distressed the tribal nation of Ngati Rangiwewehi was by the way in which the Crown agencies and the former Kaihautu Executive had mis-represented our interests.
In essence, our aspirations in looking to resolve a Treaty settlement were that we would participate in an open and honest process, free of manipulation. Unfortunately that was not our experience.
I have seen the outcomes of advertised hui of Te Arawa being declared invalid by the Crown even when the hui were advertised by an accepted facilitator. I have seen hui called on consecutive days one by the elected Governance group and one by the management group which told me that there were communication problems.
I know of physical confrontation on marae over issues of mandate which went on to the Court and was finally settled on a vote won by a dozen votes of around four to five hundred people.
I know of Ngati Whaoa’s case in being tied to Ngati Tahu when there have been three Tribunal reports telling the Crown to call the hui to sort out the issue of mandate once and for all. I know of people who have been allowed to vote at more than one mandating hui while other individuals have not been aware of or allowed that privilege.
Ngati Rangiwewehi ourselves were excluded from the mandating process until after the Executive Council was elected. We have been offended at the way in which numbers of submissions have appeared to have held more weight than the mandate from the tribe.
Over months and years, the relationships have deteriorated, including key presenters walking out of hui; and subsequent ambiguity being recorded relating to resolutions passed in hui where the full story was never heard.
Yet despite that, officials recorded “that the mandating process undertaken was open transparent and inclusive and that the Executive Council has demonstrated sufficient support from the Te Arawa people”.
There is a huge gap between fact and fiction and the Crown has been complicit in this, Madam Speaker.
It is absolutely vital that there be an independent critique in situations where there are conflicts such as this.
This was not the experience of Ngati Rangiwewehi in isolation. Other tribes have also shared similar concerns.
But that was but a small part of the history of getting to this point.
We can, with this Bill, put it behind us and start to rebuild relationships that at this point in time need to be rekindled. Whakapapa is not something that we should ever compromise.
This first reading I hope, Madam Speaker, signals not only a new era with respect to the economic and social development of those who will benefit from this settlement, of this bill, but more a determination from all of our parts, and I include myself in that, to link us to each other once again. Kia taea ai te ki Te Arawa Upoko takitahi.
The Maori Party will support this Bill at the first reading and hope that the progress remains positive.