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Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to support Ngāi Te Rangi

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust
9 January 2017

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to support Ngāi Te Rangi in battle against Crown

Representatives of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei will travel to Tauranga this week to hui with iwi from Tauranga Moana, Waikato, and Tāmaki Makaurau to discuss the Government’s approach to settling overlapping claims.

Last month, Tauranga iwi Ngāi Te Rangi put the Government on notice when they became aware that a Treaty Settlement agreement had been initialed with a Hauraki iwi collective. Ngāi Te Rangi Kaumātua, Hauata Palmer, said the deal was done by stealth and disadvantaged Tauranga iwi.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trustee Ngarimu Blair says the Auckland-based hapū is facing similar issues as those occurring in Tauranga.

“We fully support Ngāi Te Rangi and will work with them to ensure their mana is upheld. It’s deeply concerning that the Government is taking the same flawed approach in Tauranga as it is in Tāmaki Makaurau.

“The way Treaty claims are currently being settled is pitting iwi against iwi and at times hapū against their own iwi, and that is clearly wrong.

“Unfortunately, we are also seeing some iwi taking advantage of the Crown’s approach and overreaching into areas where their interests are not strong,” says Mr Blair.

A case on behalf of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is currently before the Auckland High Court, with the hapū seeking to clarify the Crown’s process in its negotiations with Ngāti Paoa and the Hauraki-based Marutuahu Collective.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei filed papers in the High Court in 2015 after learning of the Crown’s proposal to transfer land in central Auckland to a number of other iwi as part of their individual Treaty Settlements. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has the primary mana whenua interests in central Auckland and has objected to such land transfers happening.

“We acknowledge that the Government wants to complete the historical Treaty Settlement process, and we agree that all iwi have the right to settle their claims. However, that can’t happen by trampling on the mana of those the Crown has already settled with, or, those iwi who have ahi kaa roa,” says Mr Blair.

A press release from Ngāi Te Rangi last month said the Crown’s settlement with the Hauraki iwi collective would allow Hauraki iwi rights to Tauranga Moana (Harbour), which effectively trashes and recolonises Tauranga tikanga.

“Surely the mana that Tauranga iwi, such as Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Pūkenga, have over their moana should be protected. To recognise an iwi collective from further up the coast as having the same level of mana is disrespectful.

“These Treaty Settlements with Hauraki and Marutūahu have several other iwi concerned and upset at the impact on their relationships with the Crown,” says Mr Blair.

“We are hopeful that the Minister and his officials will accept that the current approach is destructive and sit down with iwi to discuss a way forward that respects tikanga.”

ENDS

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