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Hapu to invite Tribunal to marae

22 March 2019

Hapu to invite Tribunal to marae - reject use by government-backed mandate trust.

Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair, Peter T Selwyn, and Hetaraka Biddle, chairman of the Opape Marae trustees, have today announced their intention to formally invite the Waitangi Tribunal to hold part of the upcoming historical inquiry into the Whakatohea greviences at the Hapu's marae in Opape, East of Opotiki.

Mr Selwyn said: "The Waitangi Tribunal are preparing for a full comprehensive historical inquiry into the Crown's violations of the Treaty in Whakatohea territory in accordance with unanimous Hapu support in last year's Tribunal-directed poll. The government cannot stop this now and the Hapu and claimants object to the continued government funding of the Whakatohea Pre-settlement Claims Trust designed to undermine an inquiry and keep the trust's 2017 deal with [former Treaty Negotiations Minister] Finlayson on the table. Ngai Tamahaua have expressed a desire to invite the Tribunal panel to our marae at Opape to hear our voices in our whare tipuna Muriwai. We will now commence discussions with the Tribunal on how we can host part of this important reconciliation process."

The Hapu leadership have also moved to clarify confusion over advertising from the government-backed trust which claims their AGM is to be held at the marae later this month. Mr Biddle said: "the Hapu have been very consistent in opposition to this mandate trust and our tikanga is we listen to the Hapu. The Hapu were never asked, nor have the Hapu ever invited that trust to conduct their hui at our marae and the marae trustees never met to consider any such booking. The booking was recorded as a Whakatohea Maori Trust Board event and that was misleading. The booking has been cancelled."


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