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Speech: Favell - Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke

Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill
Wednesday 28 October 2009

URUROA FLAVELL (Māori Party—Waiariki):
Tēnā koe, Mr Assistant Speaker Barker. Kia ora tātau katoa e hui nei i roto i tēnei Whare, te Whare Pāremata. Koutou kua hara mai i te kāinga, tēnā koutou. Kua kōrerohia te āhuatanga o ngā mate o te kāinga, ko Tā Hauata tērā, ko Arapeta tērā. Nō reira, waiho ake mā te motu rāua e tangi. Ka mutu, ko Frank tērā me te hunga noa atu kua ngaro atu i te tirohanga kanohi. Waiho rātou kia moe. Ko tātau ngā uri, ngā tamariki, ngā urupā o rātau mā haere mai me te āhuatanga o ngā mate; tēnā koutou, nau mai, hara mai ki te Whare Pāremata.

[Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker Barker, and greetings to us all seated here in this House of Parliament. To you who have come from home, greetings. The deaths at home have been referred to—namely, those of Sir Howard and Albert. The nation will mourn their passing. I mention Frank’s death here as well as a host of others who are lost from view. Allow them to rest there. To us—the descendants, the children, the charnel house of departed ones—welcome with our deaths in mind and welcome to the House of Parliament.]

Getting land back for our people is day of celebration and is a time to be remembered because it does not happen too often. The settlement process is moving us in that direction. Thank goodness for that! The land brings us mana; our mana is our land. I acknowledge the previous Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia for his initiative in putting this bill forward prior to the election with the help of Dr Cullen, and also the Hon Mita Ririnui, who I am sure, was behind the scenes promoting this particular bill. I acknowledge them all and all of their efforts to move this particular bill forward to enable land to come back, in this case, to the people at home.

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While I am standing, I also want to acknowledge Mr John Clarke, Jonathan Easthope, also Tom White, and Dr John Tamahori who were involved with me in a process that I will outline shortly. But I wanted to acknowledge alssl the work that was done from our team.

I thought that we did pretty well—not quite there but pretty well. As the Minister has outlined, it is an awesome day for Ngāti Whakaue, for those involved with the Pukeroa-Ōruawhata, Tūhourangi and ngā koromatua o Ngāti Wahiao.

Of course, the bill has some beginning in the Pūmautanga bill, and we need to acknowledge that someone had the foresight to make sure that it got in there to ensure that it got captured—I suppose—in the net of settlements. Even though it is not purely a settlement, it at least got in on the table. So I acknowledge those who were able to set that out.

There is no doubt that from the very beginnings of this bill, even back to the discussions around the Te Arawa Lakes bill as well as the Te Pūmautanga bill, there has been one particularly important issue that has been raised from submitters in the select committee process and, as the Minister outlined, on a number of submissions to him. It has actually resulted in issues of protest

I understand that there is a protest on as we sit here today. The issue is to do with the whole notion about finding the space for those of what could be loosely termed the kaumātua of Ngāti Wahiao. That was signalled throughout the select committee process; it is not new. The Minister heard the discussions, and those members on the Māori Affairs Committee last year, as well as this year, heard about that concern. So it is not new; I am not talking out of shop.

To deal with that concern, the Minister of Māori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples, sent Mr John Clark, a member of the Waitangi Tribunal, and me to go and see if we could facilitate a process to bring the parties together. It was under and against the background of some personal flack and also some votes of no confidence—I suppose we could put it that way—that we went up. I am pleased to say that we were able to engage the parties.

The key issue there—with no disrespect to those involved with Ngāti Whakaue because no discussion came through the select committee—seemed to be finding a space for Ngāti Wāhiao on two parts: first, Wāhiao on a holding trust, which will get the asset once it has passed over to Pūmautanga; and, second, finding a space for those groups to determine that issue of mana whenua. How will the land, once it has gone back, be divvied up?

The great thing was that those parties agreed at least to come to the table, so I acknowledge them in the first instance, because it could have been seen as a little bit of interference. Happily enough, though, they did come to the table and we were able to engage over a period of about 3 to 4 months. It was great—and I will talk only about the issues of the facilitation process I was involved with—that certain principles were accepted.

Firstly, from all of the parties involved, it was accepted that the land should go back to Tūhourangi, Ngāti Huarere, Ngāti Tūkiterangi, and Ngāti Hingaroa. It was really clear that every one knew that those were the landowners. That is important. Secondly, it was agreed to have a new register, because, of course, the registering of people to be able to vote in the processes, for whatever reason, was an issue. It was also agreed that the registry would be based on whakapapa. It was agreed to have check-offs of those whakapapa, such that any two or four __ o te kainga could sign off the process.

It was great that there was an acknowledgement of whakapapa being part of the process, and that people were also agreeing to check-offs. It was agreed that there would be a hui at Wahiao to work out one of the trustees—because there are four associated with, let us say, the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wahiao group as well as Ngāti Whakaue.

So, again, there was a commitment and acknowledgement of that; the Minister has just talked about that, as did the Hon Tau Henare. That hui is to take place this weekend. That is great. The next question was: how do we find four people to negotiate on behalf of Tūhourangi, Hingaroa, Tūkiterangi, and Huarere? The answer was easy enough: get a new register. Of course, the thought was that Te Puni Kōkiri might assist in facilitation of that great new register, and those people can get involved.

The next question asked how they vote. One group said, and theirs was the first problem: one person, one vote. The other group said multiple votes. If we put down three whakapapa lines, we should have three votes. We got to that point and asked how we decided that. That was easy; the answer was to take it back for the people. Let the people decide. And so the thought was to call another hui; all of those who are registered could come together, have a korero, and whatever was the outcome of that hui, that is it. In other words, if the hui decides one person for one vote, that is it.

If they decide to have multiple votes, hoi ra, and the process could carry on. That was agreed to, in a sense. The next stage, having got all that sorted with the help of Te Puni Kōkiri, other independent facilitators, and so on, was then to call for nominations and get on and vote. Those koromatua and hapū will have their own voice to be able to negotiate their pieces of land. That was important. Why? Because all of the parties said that that was important right from the very start. So that was all achieved, and, as I say, I thank all of those involved.

We went to the select committee, and advised that we were there; we had an agreement. The select committee considered that request. Indeed, the select committee reported: “We are aware that a facilitation process has been used during 2009 to seek assurance that Ngāti Wahiao may participate in the structures set up to receive the Whakarewarewa Valley lands”—that is, the Whakarewarewa Joint Trust—“and that Ngāti Wahiao are appropriately represented in the beneficial entitlement determination procedure that will follow from the enactment of the bill.” The report continues: “We understand that Tūhourangi Ngāti Wahiao trustees on the joint trust, and the members of Ngāti Wahiao who have engaged in the facilitation process, have discussed the details of a process to elect four representatives, one of each from three Ngāti Wahiao hapū and the iwi of Tūhourangi, who will discuss mana whenua entitlements under the beneficial entitlement determination process with Ngāti Whakaue.

We understand that the details of the voting process will be decided at a hui-a-iwi by the people of Tūhourangi and Ngāti Wahiao.” So the select committee process happened. The committee reported back to the Minister, and basically the bill was able to advance, on those agreements. As I say, it is always something to celebrate when land comes back to the people.

Having achieved this process of setting out how we might determine this land’s coming back to the people, the Minister is absolutely convinced and assured that the process we have talked about is something that will stand the people in good stead in respect of determining the process. In closing, I say that my only hope, in having given some time to that, is that we do get the land back to the right people.

In outlining this background I have done that, because most people may not necessarily know the full background over a period of discussions. The good thing about it is that it will now be resting on the record of this Parliament as a record of history. We can say: “He mana nō to te kupu.”; that what people say is actually their bond, their word.

The goal in terms of my role, and that of Mr John Clark, I am sure, was always honourable. It was to facilitate the bringing together of a people. Whether or not people believe that, that is what I say. My only hope is that having set that high goal—and what followed was a process that certainly had integrity and honesty to it—in the end we tried our very best to facilitate that process, and we have reported to the Minister accordingly. He believes that that process will be followed to ensure that that land does go back to those people who belong to that land. As he said our mana whenua is a very, very important concept amongst our people.

I hope, and I am sure that he does, that in the end our process will set the scene, and will mean that the bringing together again of our people at home will be such that we get rid of protest, get rid of litigation, and finally make sure that the land falls back to the descendents of those who belong to that land. Nō reira, ko nei te mihi a kia katou katoa e tamai tēnei rangi. Hurinui to tātou Whare. Tēnā Koutou. Kia ora tātou.


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