Te Kahika claimants elated with Tribunal Report
“We won!” says Joseph Kahika, the lead claimant for Te Whānau a Te Kahika, who were one of the claimants in opposition to the Whakatōhea mandate and whose claim was not even listed in the Wai claims list until late 2016 without any consultation or notification.
The Kahika whānau number over 5,000 whānau members and have been conducting research over a number of years on their tīpuna Tio Te Kahika, who was shot 18 times by the military gun boats on the shores of the Opotiki harbour entance on 8 September 1865. The military invasion of the Whakatōhea territories was known as the Battle of Te Tarata, which took place on 4 October 1865 on the tribal lands of Ngāti Ira.
In the Tribunal’s report into the Whakatōhea Mandate Inquiry released today, the Tribunal has found that the Crown’s recognition of the Pre-Settlement Trust mandate was pre-determined and that the Crown prioritised its political objective to accelerate a Whakatōhea settlement, known as the ‘Broadening the Reach’ strategy, in October 2016 and then moved quickly into substantive negotiations and an Agreement in Principle in August 2017.
“We are so happy with the findings in the Report and the Tribunal have recommended that the Crown engage with the Te Kahika claimants in any negotiations process going forward.” Says Mr Kahika: “We won all our legal arguments and our whānau feel that the Tribunal has heard all our concerns and we have our dignity back. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ for his guidance. Mā Te Atua tātou hei manaaki hei tiaki”
The Tribunal has recommended that the Whakatōhea negotiations be suspended in order to address some serious deficiencies.