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Settlements & Sacrifices

NORTHLAND AGE - 26 JUN 08 - PRESS RELEASE

Settlements & Sacrifices

Tomorrow Michael Cullen is expected at Kareponia Marae to (hopefully) settle part of Ngati Kahu’s Treaty claims. I hope to be there and I wish Ngati Kahu all the best, as indeed I do for other iwi in the settlement chain. Things seem to have been dragging on for decades so tomorrow promises to be a good day.

But a word of caution: not to put the stops on the Ngati Kahu deal, or the impending Te Rarawa one either, but simply to signal issues that people may have missed.

I know that all 5 iwi, Ngati Kahu, Te Rarawa, Ngaitakoto, Aupouri and Ngati Kuri are also working together as a Forum on a common deal as well (the Crown lands in the Tangonge/Te Make/Sweetwater area, the Aupouri Forest, and the 90 Mile Beach), and I understand things are coming along well there too.

But I’m a little concerned about what’s going to happen with Aupouri and Ngaitakoto’s Treaty claims if the Forum deal goes through, and here’s why.

If you take a line from the Kaitaia town clock out to Ahipara – everywhere south of there to Hokianga is Te Rarawa’s claim alone (pretty much anyway).

And if you take SH1 from Diggers Valley to Awanui – pretty much everywhere west of there to Kenana is Ngati Kahu’s claim alone (and some of that will be in tomorrow’s deal).

And if you take a line from Te Paki Stream across to the Parengarenga – pretty much everywhere north of there is Ngati Kuri’s claim alone.

And if you look at what’s left (the Crown lands in the Tangonge/Te Make/Sweetwater area, the Aupouri Forest, and the 90 Mile Beach), that’s what is being proposed for the Forum.

What that means though, is that if Aupouri and Ngaitakoto go along with the Forum deal, they will have nothing else to claim for their own beneficiaries.

Seems to me that Aupouri and Ngaitakoto are being asked to essentially sacrifice everything that they have a right to claim (or at least to contest) individually, for the good of the Forum. And that’s a big ask.

I am actually a supporter of a Forum deal because I believe iwi working together is our only way forward. I just wonder whether or not the good people of Ngati Kahu, Te Rarawa and Ngati Kuri really understand what sacrifices Aupouri and Ngaitakoto are being asked to make to ensure all Far North iwi can secure a strong, common economic future.

Ends

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