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Hall’s Urban Maori Claims “Rubbish”, Says Iwi

Hall’s Urban Maori Claims “Rubbish”, Says Iwi

The chairman of Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Ngahiwi Tomoana, today hit out at claims by lawyer Donna Hall that Maori who live in the cities were left out of the Maori fisheries allocation plans announced recently.

“If you listen to what Ms Hall says, you’d think every Maori who lived in the city got nothing. Well, that’s just rubbish,” Mr Tomoana said.

The majority of people who affiliate to Ngati Kahungunu live in towns and cities. The board of the tribe itself is made up of both urban and rural people. Mr Tomoana said Ngati Kahungunu was currently working with members to ensure strong South Island representation on the board. We already have representatives from Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington.

“We are actively enticing our members, irrespective of where they live in New Zealand, to participate in our affairs – the advent of email and internet also makes communication with our members a lot easier.” According to the last census, 53,000 people affiliate to Ngati Kahungunu, whose rohe runs along the East Coast of the North Island from near Cape Palliser in the south to north of Wairoa.

Mr Tomoana said the requirements that the Fisheries Commission was placing on iwi before they received “even one fish” were designed to ensure that all members of any iwi could access the benefits of the settlement.

“Maori living in urban centres today can benefit in two ways through the Commission’s allocation model. They can benefit through their iwi –they don’t need to live in their rohe to do so – and they can benefit through the Te Putea Wakatupu Trust, a $20 million fund for those who say they can’t find their iwi or choose not to associate with their iwi.”

“It’s a fallacy that all urban Maori people don’t know their iwi, of course they do. To say that they’re missing out is misleading and obviously designed to garner support for litigation where there is none. No allocation model will get 100 percent support. But this model has the support of 91 percent of iwi to go to the Minister,” Mr Tomoana said.

Mr Tomoana reminded people that the Commission’s Iwi Helpline assisted people in finding their iwi. “If they can’t they’re not left on the heap – and that’s important. There’s not one iwi in this country that would refuse helping someone find their whakapapa, their iwi,” he said.

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