Tides Have Turned In Whakatohea With Five Hapu Opposing Direct Negotiations
An application into an urgent hearing challenging Minister Little’s decision to resume settlement negotiations with the Whakatohea Pre-settlement Trust was filed on 18 June 2020 by Tuariki John Delamere and Te Ringahuia Hata on behalf of the original Ngati Patumoana hapu claim, which kaumatua John Hata filed in 2008.
There are about 31 Wai claims in Whakatohea and the application has now been supported by 24 Wai claims, with more yet to file. Only 5 of those Wai claims filed are seeking interested party status, whilst the other Wai claims have sought applicant status. Four hapu claimants have joined the Ngati Patu application in support: Ngati Ira, Ngai Tamahaua, Ngati Rua and Upokorehe, with only one hapu Ngati Ngahere, in support of the WPSCT Mandate and negotiations.
Ngati Rua’s application in support was filed by esteemed kaumatua Te Riaki Amoamo. Just three years ago, Ngati Rua sat in support of the WPSCT and even signed the Agreement in Principle, however the tides have turned drastically in Whakatōhea in 2020.
“I am happy to see almost all of the Wai claimants from the first urgent hearing have joined our applications and we are all united in challenging the Minister’s decision to resume negotiations. Claimants have submitted extensive evidence that challenge predetermined consultation processes and the veracity of the Mandate Maintenance reports. It is underpinned by some pretty substandard legal advice based on my analysis of Crown discovery documents” says Ms Hata.
Ms Tracy Hillier, who is a claimant for Ngai Tamahaua hapu has submitted invoices of the negotiators as part of her evidence that show how much the negotiators have been charging.
“I was quite disgusted to read how much the negotiator from Ngai Tamahaua was charging for their settlement updates just to attend our monthly marae and hapu hui despite our consistent opposition since day one. They are just sucked into the Crown’s tick box exercises and milking it in the millions”. says Ms Hillier.
“I completely disagree with the Minister’s decision to resume negotiations without properly addressing the concerns of Ngai Tamahaua from the Tribunal recommendations in the Wai 2662 Mandate Inquiry. Nothing has been done since the Whakatohea Vote 2 years ago. Ngai Tamahaua met the 5% threshold to withdraw our claims along with Ngati Ira and the Crown refuse to listen. Crown consultation is a farce”
In the 2018 Wai 2662 Inquiry only two Wai claims supported the WPSCT, Wai 1884 Arihia Tuoro for Ngati Ngahere and Wai 1511 filed by Keita Hudson.
“According to the latest documents we have received by the Crown, support by Wai claimants for the WPSCT has not increased at all. There are still, only two claims that support them, yet the Crown continue to negotiate for all of Te Whakatohea” says Ms Hata
In 2018, the Wai 2662 Waitangi Tribunal found that the Crown’s recognition of the WPSCT mandate was pre-determined, not fair, reasonable nor made in good faith and that the Crown prioritised its political objective of concluding a settlement over a fair process for Whakatohea. The new application for urgency has been registered as Wai 2961 – Whakatohea Settlement Negotiations Claim.