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It's all about hapu

It's all about hapu

Waihoroi Shortland, Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngati Hine says today’s release of the Waitangi Tribunal’s report on the Urgency hearing for the Ngāpuhi Settlement mandate, was “all about hapu and Ngati Hine is proud to be standing in that line, shoulder to shoulder with other hapu”.

Mr. Shortland says that last year the Waitangi Tribunal found that the hapu of Ngāpuhi did not cede their sovereignty under Te Tiriti o Waitangi to the Crown. Today, another independent jurist and her panel insisted that the tino rangatiratanga of hapu warranted by that decision, must be protected. Ngati Hine he said, salutes their courage in coming to that conclusion and accepts the challenge it presents.

If the collective will of the hapu is uppermost, then its constituents must own the process that sees our treaty claims advanced with the Crown on our terms and not under the direction of those whom we have never endorsed and from whom we could not withdraw.

It has been particularly heartening to see that this judicial body has given equitable weighting to lore, as it did to “the law” in its findings and recommendations. The claims they said, were well founded. Hapu rangatiratanga needed protecting and further to that, clear breaches of a treaty relationship would cause prejudice to the claimants.

As Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngati Hine, it’s a huge relief that after seven years and much effort, someone finally got the message. What is important now is what we do from here.

Ngati Hine has several hapu of its own. Today we have been given a clear pathway to rebuilding the autonomy of those affected by the flawed process that the Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority has proven to be.

As claimants in this action, Mr. Shortland says Ngati Hine is proud of the contribution its people have played in challenging the perception that all was well on the home front and while the loss of great advocates like Erima Henare tempers our elation, the legacy of his words and guidance to this inquiry has been endorsed and given due recognition.

It will take sometime for Ngati Hine to unbundle the full extent of the report, but what we have achieved today is what we craved from the start; the freedom as a hapu to make our own decision as to how we will treat with the Crown and how we expect to be treated in return.

Over the last few years the people of Ngati Hine have shown a great deal of patience to hold the line, when all around them the desire to direct their own settlement seemed to drift further out of reach. It will be a pleasure to deliver to them a just outcome that endures the test of time.

Waihoroi Shortland says the Crown clearly has an open invitation to rebuild the hope and trust with hapu that the Tribunal’s report aspires to, but first the blinkers must go.


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