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A Giant Step Forward On Ngapuhi Treaty Settlement Journey

A Giant Step Forward On Ngapuhi Treaty Settlement Journey

Ngapuhi – Aotearoa’s biggest Iwi – is significantly closer to entering negotiations for an enduring settlement of Crown breaches and grievances against Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Today (31 January) the Minister in Charge of Treaty Negotiations, Hon Christopher Finlayson, and the Minister for Maori Affairs, Hon Dr Pita Sharples, wrote to Ngapuhi leaders confirming the Crown’s support of Te Ropu o Tuhoronuku’s (Tuhoronuku) proposed amendments to the Deed of Mandate granted by Ngapuhi.

The Ministers outline some areas of detail to be finalised before the Crown make a final decision in mid-July on recognising Tuhoronuku’s mandate.

In their letter, the Ministers said: “The process to date has been a significant one both in terms of time and resources. A considerable amount of work has been undertaken by all parties to find an agreed approach and resolve concerns hapu have raised along the way.”

Said Tuhoronuku Interim Chairperson, Raniera (Sonny) Tau: “The areas the Ministers want clarification on are around the separation of Tuhoronuku from Te Runanga A Iwi o Ngapuhi, hapu representation and elections and having an independent returning officer oversee the election process to the mandated entity.”

“These are areas largely proposed and agreed to by Tuhoronuku, so we do not see them as obstacles to the process from here.”

“Coming just days before the national celebration of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, this is a significant development for Ngapuhi, for Northland and for Aotearoa.

“We are finally in sight of reaching an enduring settlement on behalf of Ngapuhi, and of advancing our people economically, socially and culturally.

“Population-wise, we are the biggest Iwi, yet the poorest by many indicators. We cannot delay our settlement any further, and the Crown recognise this. Ngapuhi need to start strengthening our economic base and participate in the social and economic well-being of our people. Once we do this, jobs will be created, expertise will be attracted back home to Northland and our Marae will be restored.”

Tuhoronuku has spent four years, held more than 60 hui and Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi has financially supported this to the tune of $3m to get to this point.

Following the largest communications exercise in the history of Iwi Maori, Ngapuhi overwhelming gave their mandate to Tuhoronuku in 2011.

Said Mr Tau: “Tuhoronuku has made compromise after compromise to ensure Ngapuhi would be fairly represented and we thank our Kaumatua and Kuia for their resolute support and wise council on behalf of Ngapuhi.”


The Ministers’ letter can be found on Tuhoronuku’s website www.tuhoronuku.com

Background to Ngapuhi Settlement

In 2008 the Runanga was instructed by Kaumatua and Kuia to progress a comprehensive settlement of historical TeTiriti o Waitangi claims with the Crown.

Te Ropu o Tuhoronuku (a sub-committee of the Runanga) was established in 2009 to develop and implement a process for Ngapuhi to secure a robust mandate to represent Ngapuhi on its journey to settlement.

In 2011, after three years of consultation and input from Ngapuhi throughout Aotearoa, all Ngapuhi over 18 were given the opportunity to vote on giving their mandate to Tuhoronuku. The outcome was an overwhelming 76% vote in favour of the resolution.

It is important to reiterate that Ngapuhi’s mandate is with Tuhoronuku, not the Runanga.

The mandate result officially verified by ElectioNZ confirmed 76% who voted (by ballot), support the mandate being held by Te Ropu o Tuhoronuku. This positive outcome followed 20 Deed of Mandate hui and up to 40 pre-mandate hui (over two years) consulting with Ngapuhi in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.

Once the Crown has formally recognised Tuhoronuku’s mandate, Interim Chair, Raniera (Sonny) Tau, said the Crown and Tuhoronuku would work together to complete negotiations and develop a Deed of Settlement. This will be the largest settlement since Ngai Tahu and Tainui in the 1990s.

Said Mr Tau, “We want settlement as soon as possible and of course we are delighted to reach this point, it is an important step on the pathway to settlement and we hope that by the end of 2014 Ngapuhi and the Crown will be writing a settlement Bill.”

ENDS

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