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Waitangi Tribunal Strategic Direction launched

Waitangi Tribunal Strategic Direction launched

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Waitangi Tribunal Chairperson, Chief Judge Wilson Isaac, will tomorrow (Wednesday 2 July 2014) officially launch the Tribunal’s Strategic Direction through to 2025.

The Strategic Direction sets out what the Tribunal plans to achieve over the next 12 years and beyond, and how it’s going to get there. Chief Judge Wilson Isaac says the Strategic Direction comes at a significant time in the history of the Tribunal.

“We are approaching the completion of our long-running district inquiry programme, where many regional historical and contemporary claims have and are being heard. These inquiries have played an important role in assisting iwi and the Crown to resolve historic claims under the Treaty of Waitangi, as well as broadening all New Zealanders’ understanding of the role of the Treaty in our nation’s past, present and future,” Chief Judge Isaac says.

“The strategic direction will guide our future inquiry programme as we transition from the completion of the district inquiries to hearing the many claims before us which focus on kaupapa (issue-based) and contemporary inquiries. In carrying out this work we will continue to be, in the words of Matiu Rata, a vital instrument for honouring the Treaty of Waitangi.”

District inquiries focus on historic Treaty claims related to geographical areas, while kaupapa claims involve thematic issues of national significance, such as the inquiries into the recognition of Te Reo Māori (Wai 11), New Zealand’s law and policy affecting Māori culture and identity (Wai 262) and national fresh water and geothermal issues (Wai 2358). Contemporary claims, such as the Tribunal’s current inquiry into the Crown’s response to the sinking of the MV Rena, relate to the application of the Treaty to modern-day issues that have occurred since 21 September 1992.

The Tribunal has completed 18 district inquiries and has a further 6 inquiries under way. A further eight districts have proceeded or are proceeding to settlement without inquiry. Together, completed and active Tribunal district inquiries embrace more than 90 per cent of the country’s land area.

The Strategic Direction sets out five goals that the Tribunal aims to achieve:
1. Complete the final district inquiries and remaining historical claims by 2020
2. Progress high-priority kaupapa claims by 2020
3. Substantially advance or complete the remaining kaupapa claims by 2025
4. Address the backlog of contemporary claims by 2025
5. Address urgent claims

“Achieving these goals will assist with the restoration and health of the Crown-Māori Treaty relationship, and ensure access to justice for all claimants,” Chief Judge Isaac says.


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