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Whakatohea claimants file for an urgent hearing

21 March 2017

Whakatohea claimants file for an urgent hearing


Eleven Whakatohea claimants that represent over 90% of the Whakatohea claimant community have filed for an urgent hearing with the Waitangi Tribunal into the Whakatohea Pre-settlement Claims Trust mandate that was recognised by the Crown last December despite an overwhelming number of claimants and their hapu in opposition.

In an unprecedented move, over five hapū of Whakatohea, and the majority of the sixth hapū have withdrawn their support of the new entity. The Waitangi Tribunal tried to assist in mediating a positive pathway forward last November but that only resulted in the Pre-settlement Trust rejecting all the options from the claimant community with levels of opposition increasing even more.

Out of 91 submissions received by Te Puni Kokiri at the end of November last year, 52 submissions were in opposition to the mandate and were supported by 1,041 signatures of Whakatohea uri. Despite the levels of opposition filed by way of submissions and petitions, the Crown and Minister Flavell still recognised the mandate of the Whakatohea Pre-settlement Trust in December which sparked an outcry by the claimant community.

Since November last year, 28 of 31 claimants collectively teamed up and invoked the withdrawal mechanism contained with the Deed of Mandate, collecting and gathering around 1,951 signatures in support of the petition to withdrawal their claims from under the Pre-Settlement Trust.

“The Trust came back in January at a hui and told us were 107 signatures short. Who are they to tell us our whanau who signed the petition are not Whakatohea uri and cannot have their say?” says claimant Russell Hollis. “Many who signed the petition are beneficiaries of Whakapaupakihi No, 2 and they took our claim without any consultation. The say it’s a hapū driven process but the Moutohora claim is not for hapu nor the Trust to decide how it is negotiated it is for the owners. So we will keep going until they withdraw our claims they stole” Mr Hollis stated.

“That only leaves two claims under the Trust – one from Ngati Rua and one from Ngati Ngahere. As far as I can see it the Trust is only led by these two claims led by Ngati Rua at the table. That is not representative of all of Whakatohea. They only have 2 while 28 claims are out. They are making a mockery out of our iwi and all their hui they hold are shambolic” states Mr Hollis.

A total 90% of the entire claimant community has filed for an urgent hearing and Judge Savage has asked that all submissions and evidence in response to the Crown be filed by 5 April 2017.

ENDS

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