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‘People’s Court’ Informs MP Of Rangitane Settlement Issues

Media release – for immediate release – 22 January 2013

‘People’s Court’ Informs MP Of Rangitane Settlement Issues

The Honourable Minister Tariana Turia, Māori party MP for Te Tai Hauāuru called a hui in order to listen to the concerns of ngā uri o Rangitane ki Manawatu (the descendants of Rangitane from the Manawatu) held in Palmerston North on Sunday 20 January.

Tribal members told the MP they had a number of outstanding significant issues with the Crown and Tanenuiarangi Manawatu Incorporated (TMI’s) proposed DRAFT settlement deal with the Iwi.

Members of Rangitane are disturbed at the continued support by Office of Treaty Settlement (OTS) officials of TMI, a Māori urban organisation, who have unilaterally claimed to represent the views of Rangitane.

For example, TMI has inserted Ngati Tauira in the Rangitane DRAFT Trust Deed settlement despite Ngati Tauira being a hapu of Ngati Apa, an entirely different iwi who have already had a settlement. In 2011 Ngati Apa received a treaty settlement of $27 million in cash and assets and now TMI is claiming under the umbrella of Rangitane o Manawatu hapu to gain benefits from both settlements.

Members of Rangitane at the hui are adamant that TMI does not represent their interests. Crown documents from the past 20 years also question TMI’s legitimacy to represent the Iwi however Crown officials continue to ignore these documents obtained by their legal counsel and submitted to the Waitangi Tribunal for investigation. The Waitangi Tribunal for its part has decided to ignore the OIA documents and declined Rangitane o Manawatu - Mana Whenua, a proper hearing. The traditional Rangitane hapu are certain that the Waitangi Tribunal judge, Stephanie Milroy has simply followed the political directives of the current government and not principles of natural justice.

OTS officials and TMI’s Executive Manager have ignored and disrespected all conciliatory attempts by the traditional leaders of Rangitane such as Sir Edward Durie. Members of traditional Rangitane hapu told Minister Turia that there is a history of non-participation by TMI in any conciliatory efforts to reach agreement on the DRAFT Settlement Trust deed.

As an example, hui attendees learned that a small working party had been developing a Post Settlement Governance Entity with TMI. The majority of those at the hui had no idea of this work being done as there has been no communication or ‘report back’ from the TMI selected representatives.

Although invited, members of TMI did not attend the hui.

Tribal members told the MP that Rangitane have been denied their right to a hearing by the Waitangi Tribunal and that they see this as a disgrace to the Waitangi Tribunal and to the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process.
Turia gave no assurances but said that she would take the issues raised back to Treaty Minister Chris Finlayson. She said she would undertake to address a number of the issues raised and would report back to iwi members on a weekly basis.

Traditional Rangitane members applauded the Minister and thanked her stating that “Although the Waitangi Tribunal had denied them their rightful hearing, Minister Turia had provided a ‘PEOPLES COURT’ a concept which is recognized amongst indigenous peoples internationally and encouraged by the articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a Declaration that was signed by the New Zealand government in April 2010.

The traditional members of Rangitane have filed an appeal in the High Court seeking Judicial Review of Judge Milroy’s decision and the urgent application has also been filed with the United Nations in New York.


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