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Ngapuhi Did Not Sign The Treaty

Ngapuhi Did Not Sign The Treaty

There is an entity called Ngapuhi that is currently preparing a claim to the Tribunal. It is led by the Crown-created, Crown-legislated, Crown-monitored, and Crown-funded "Runanga". Effectively, one branch of the Crown is claiming against another branch of the Crown.

There is a problem however: Ngapuhi did not sign the Treaty. What I mean by this is that there was not a chief who signed the Treaty on behalf of Ngapuhi. The stories of my own family, for example, tell of Hone Heke signing the Treaty on behalf of Matarahurahu, and I have histories from other hapu where their ancestors signed on behalf of their hapu.

What's more, the Maori text of the Treaty refers to it being an agreement between the Crown and hapu.

So what does this mean for us today? A number of things:

1. Rangatiratanga is to be found in hapu, and those hapu relationships we all have

2. Under Maori lore and European law, the Treaty is an agreement between the Crown and hapu, not iwi or runanga or trust boards or incorporations.

3. The mana in the Treaty is for the mana of hapu

4. Any group called Ngapuhi which makes a claim is breaching the Vienna convention on treaties because it cannot be classified as a negotiating party to the treaty unless all existing parties (hapu in our case) give their mandate to it.

5. Our tupuna always emphasised that it was important to do what was tika - correct. We will hear from some prominent people in Ngapuhi how the iwi claim will be good for us - maybe it will, probably we won't see a cent - but what matters is not the money, but doing what is tika. Why should we always corrupt ourselves when money is waved in our faces?

Now my challenge: it is to Sonny Tau and the Runanga and its supporters, and to our MP Hone Harawira. Will you oppose the Ngapuhi claim and let hapu exercise their tino rangatiratanga as specified in the Treaty?

David Rankin


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