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Ngapuhi Warns Of Potential Pandoras Box

2 August 2004

Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi KAIKOHE

Ngapuhi Warns Of Potential Pandoras Box If Select Committee Acknowledges Hapu In Maori Fisheries Bill

Sonny Tau, Chairman for Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi does not believe the Select Committee has thoroughly thought through the implications of recognising hapu as separate Iwi in the Maori Fisheries Bill which is due to have its first reading in the House next week.

Mr Tau said that by circumventing the established process of hapu gaining Iwi status, the reported recommendation by the Select Committee would set the Fisheries settlement process back 10 years. “If any one hapu was to be given Iwi status through the back door, every hapu in the country would have to be considered equally. If hapu are recognised as Iwi, it will open up a Pandora’s box of litigation between hapu and their parent Iwi” said Mr. Tau from Kaikohe today.

Mr. Tau expressed his concern for the potential delay and believes that Maori Authorities such as Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi will be spending more time in litigation rather than continuing to develop an economic base for Iwi, “… this will set Maori back again and the only people who will benefit are the lawyers on the Iwi litigation gravy train.”

Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi clearly distances itself from the ‘cry of Utu’ as stated in the media. “We have an excellent relationship with this Government and see the foreshore and seabed issue as totally separate to the Maori Fisheries Bill. At no time has Ngapuhi mentioned this process of utu and to be reported to say this is outlandish, “ Mr Tau said.

“Ngapuhi already recognises and caters for our Ngati Hine beneficiaries who have chosen to affiliate to Ngapuhi and will continue to do so because their whakapapa dictates this. We cannot deny our Ngati Hine beneficiaries and it saddens me to think that after all the hard work of trying to settle this matter within Ngapuhi a few purported leaders of Ngati Hine have chosen to divide rather than unite Ngapuhi”.

Mr Tau challenges the figure of 50,000 members suggested by Ngati Hine. The 2001 census that is used for allocation by Te Ohu Kai Moana puts the Ngati Hine membership at 855 people, which after allocation will be pittance for Ngati Hine. “We have a better chance to provide real benefits for those of Ngati Hine descent with our full allocation instead of extracting their hapu share which would provide Ngati Hine an annual income of under $25,000. This further disenfranchises Ngati Hine beneficiaries who have chosen to stay with Ngapuhi.”

Mr Tau states that the biggest hapu within Ngapuhi is Ngai Tawake and not Ngati Hine as proclaimed.

ENDS

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