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Hapu Acknowledged Not Created By Legislation

18 February 2005

Media Statement by Te Rûnanga o Ngâti Awa

Urban Hapu Acknowledged Not Created By Legislation

The Ngâti Awa Settlement Bill does not “create” hapu as claimed in a New Zealand First media statement (17 February), but simply acknowledges the hapu of Ngâti Awa as determined by Ngâti Awa, says Te Rûnanga o Ngâti Awa Chairman Professor Hirini Mead.

Professor Mead says how Ngâti Awa determines its internal structures are a matter for itself to decide, and that there is no one classical iwi model to follow.

“Ngâti Awa recognises the dynamic nature of hapu. They grow, they split up, they become absorbed by others, they decline, they die, and some live again. They all change through time. Because of this, we have adopted an open and inclusive attitude towards establishment of hapu.

“We are not following a strict definition of what a hapu might be - this is our prerogative and our tikanga, and Members of Parliament that criticise the inclusion of our urban hapu are questioning our tikanga.

“It is not an easy matter for a new hapu to become accepted by other hapu. The major hurdle that each must pass is unanimous acceptance by all the hapu of Ngâti Awa. All hapu named in the Bill have passed this test,” he said.

Professor Mead said it is appropriate and consistent with tikanga that all the hapu outlined in the Bill are included in the settlement.

ENDS

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