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Ngāti Ira claimants over the moon

Ngāti Ira claimants over the moon at Waitangi Tribunal Report

17 April 2018

The Waitangi Tribunal has released its 120-page report in the Whakatōhea Mandate Inquiry today which has found that the Crown’s recognition of the Pre-settlement Trust mandate was not fair, reasonable nor made in good faith and that the Crown prioritised its political objective of concluding settlements by mid-2020 over a fair process for Whakatōhea.

In an unprecedented recommendation, the Waitangi Tribunal has concluded that the Crown should not have recognised the Mandate in December 2016, it was wrong in including Whakatōhea in the strategy to accelerate settlements known as the ‘Broadening of Reach’ in October 2016 and then moved quickly into substantive negotiations and an Agreement in Principle that was signed in August 2017. The Tribunal has recommended that the Whakatōhea negotiations be suspended in order to address some serious deficiencies.

The reports states:

In this rush to conclude settlements, we think the Crown has lost sight of some of its own Treaty settlement principles.

In our view, the process lacked balance and strongly implied a pre-determined outcome. Those in opposition to the mandate have good reason to feel that their concerns were not given a fair hearing.

The report goes on further to state that the evidence replied upon by the Crown to assess support was insufficient and unreliable because the Trust Board register was “insufficient” and approximately 3,000 or more voters were denied an opportunity to even participate.

Ngāti Ira was one of the most strident voices in opposition in the Urgency hearings process whose claimants submitted over 2,300 pages of evidence across 21 affidavits. They are overjoyed with the findings in the report.

“We dedicate this report to the late Hone Kameta who was the original lead claimant and mana reo for Ngāti Ira on Raupatu issues. He warned of Crown collusion to undermine the hapū rangatiratanga of Ngāti Ira when Sir Doug Graham was in charge and was equally strident when Minister Finlayson started to impose timeframes and settlement processes on us with people who were not Ngāti Ira and not mandated by us to negotiate our claim. Hone Kameta died during this process. This report is for him and the legacy of the descendants of Hira Te Popo” says Te Rua Rakuraku, lead claimant for Ngāti Ira.

“Ngāti Ira invoked the withdrawal clause and submitted a withdrawal petition on behalf of 25 of the claimant groups in Whakatōhea and gathered over 1,500 signatures in two weeks. We served it on the Pre-Settlement Trust before the recognition of the mandate. The Crown knew about the growing opposition against the mandate in Whakatōhea and simply ignored it and this reports clearly states that the Crown breached their Te Tiriti duty of active protection” states Te Ringahuia Hata, one of the Ngāti Ira claimants who submitted the petition.

“I’m absolutely overjoyed at the findings in the report.” Says Ms Hata

“Ngāti Ira have been vindicated in every allegation of unfairness, bad faith and predetermination that was made against the Crown and the Pre-Settlement Trust. They undermined the mana motuhake of Ngāti Ira, the mana reo of our claimants and the legacy of our rangatira Hira Te Popo. I’m so elated Judge Doogan and panel members agreed with all our concerns. Now is the time for all of Whakatōhea to reflect on what the Crown has done to us yet again and move forward with open eyes, hapū mana motuhake stronger than ever because for Ngāti Ira it is not about money, it’s about mana” states Ms Hata.

ENDS

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