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Treaty Minister engages with Ngāti Hine

Treaty Minister engages with Ngāti Hine

28 April 2014

Ngāti Hine who met with Minister of Treaty Negotiations Chris Finlayson last week in Whangarei hopes the positive outcomes from their meeting is just the beginning of further talks between the Crown and Ngāti Hine. Ngāti Hine took the opportunity to tell the minister about its capacity to represent its own interests. The minister for his part left promising to consider their concerns and to respond diligently.

Chairman of Te Runanga o Ngāti Hine, Waihoroi Shortland said “The outcome gives new hope on how we might get past our concerns and engage with the Crown over treaty claims, negotiations and eventual settlement.” Earlier this month Minister Finlayson announced on television he was keen to meet Ngāti Hine. The meeting was in response to that notion as well as years of lobbying, litigation and in recent times joining the growing voice of protest in Ngapuhi on how treaty grievances might be settled.

The brief meeting attended by a diverse group of Ngāti Hine kaumatua, leaders, hapu, marae and whanau representatives gave the minister a reflective view of who Ngāti Hine are. Those who spoke to the minister on behalf of Ngāti Hine included Erima Henare, Rowena Tana, Lee Belk, Harris Shortland and Pita Tipene. The meeting was chaired by Sir James Henare's elder son, Bernard Henare.

The presentations included Ngāti Hine’s history with the Crown and the structure and representation of hapu and marae through Te Runanga o Ngāti Hine (established in 1887 by Maihi Kawiti). Ngāti Hine identified its ongoing work in the community and involvement in forestry, health services, social housing, educational initiatives, environmental issues, Maori language and custom retention and events such as the biennial Te Ahuareka o Ngāti Hine festival.

Ngāti Hine also informed the minister of its historical links to its neighbours and allies from the past, many of whom held similar concerns to Ngāti Hine over the process and implementation of the conditional mandate granted to Tuhoronuku. These ties and obligations were expanded on further by Ngāti Hine kaumatua, Harris Shortland who said, "It is not surprising they include nearly all of those hapu who were inside the walls at Ruapekapeka 168 years ago. Ngāti Hine has a reputation of standing with those we know have had our backs covered. Our efforts today are always with their interests in mind".

Lee Belk who was admitted to the bar in Whangarei only last month gave a young Ngāti Hine perspective saying her choice of the law could be seen as her way of giving voice and substance to Ngāti Hine's vision "Ma Ngāti Hine ano Ngāti Hine e korero" (Ngāti Hine alone will speak for Ngati Hine). Minister Finlayson also showed a keen interest in Belk's master’s thesis on co-governance entities with the crown. He assured Belk that as an architect of some of those entities including the Urewera National Park and the Whanganui River that he was happy to contribute to her efforts.

Ngāti Hine was encouraged by the meeting with the minister and will keep engaging with its people to ensure a positive way forward continues.


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