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Iwi Leaders Respond to Criticism of Mining Talks

18 November 2010

Media Statement: For immediate release

Iwi Leaders Respond to Criticism of Mining Talks

Iwi leaders Tukoroirangi Morgan and Mark Solomon are sick of the continued criticism that is being levelled at them in the wake of their meetings with the Prime Minister regarding a framework for engagement over mining and oil exploration.

“It would appear that some people are finding it difficult to accept that the world has changed and where once their voices may have been sought out as constructive and useful, there is now an increasingly shrill and irrelevant tone to them,” said Tukoroirangi Morgan, Chair Te Arataura o Waikato Tainui.

“Sir Robert Mahuta once referred to the powerlessness of Maaori – ‘a powerlessness derived from underdevelopment which is reflected in their lack of control over resources, information, decisionmaking and relationships with key people’,” said Mr Morgan.

“The meetings we have had with the Prime Minister are not about mining anywhere. They have been about ensuring that our people are not railroaded into anything and that there is a clear framework of engagement in place right from the start,” said Ngaai Tahu Chair Mark Solomon.

“It is doubly disappointing to hear this criticism when for decades we weren’t even able to get in these doors to discuss our concerns. Finally we are being treated as equal partners and it seems our own people are trying to pull the rug from underneath us,” said Mr Solomon.

Mr Morgan said it was perhaps worth reminding people that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the Crown and Iwi.

“Iwi are the Treaty partners and it is primarily with Iwi that the Crown must engage in any discussion about mining or oil exploration. It is as simple as that,” said Mr Morgan.

“The Iwi Leaders Group has made it clear to the Government that we are seeking clarity around the processes for engagement and we will report those discussions back to the Iwi Leaders Forum and then back to our respective tribal forums,” said Mr Solomon.

“Ultimately the questions around mining or not mining will be made by the Iwi and hapuu concerned. It is mischievous and frankly insulting for people to suggest that anything more is going on,” said Tukoroirangi Morgan.


Waikato Tainui comprises 33 hapuu, 68 marae and 60,000 tribal members. In 1863 colonial forces crossed the Mangataawhiri River and invaded the Waikato. More than 1.2 million acres was confiscated and the people of Waikato were forced into an exile that lasted 20 years.

In 1995 the first Waikato-Tainui settlement over lands was signed with the Crown. In 2008 the Waikato River Deed of Settlement was signed, with enhanced co-management arrangements finalised in 2009. The completion of the Waikato River Claim will see the tribe having a co-governance role over New Zealand’s largest river. Negotiations over the tribe’s remaining outstanding claims including West Coast harbours are expected to commence over the next year.

In 2010 Waikato-Tainui reported a net profit of $18.6 million and revenue growth of 11.5 per cent. Total assets were $644 million. Grants totalling $4.4 million were paid to 1766 individuals and groups.

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