Waitangi Tribunal Report on the Ngāpuhi Mandate
10 September 2015
EMBARGOED UNTIL 12 P.M Friday 11 SEPTEMBER www.waitangitribunal.govt.nz
Waitangi Tribunal Releases Its Report on the Ngāpuhi Mandate Claims
In its Ngāpuhi Mandate Inquiry Report,released today, the Waitangi Tribunal has upheld a number of claims that the Crown breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi when it recognised the mandate of the Tūhoronuku Independent Mandate Authority (the Tūhoronuku IMA) to enter settlement negotiations with the Crown on behalf of all Ngāpuhi.
The claims, submitted primarily by Ngāpuhi hapū and hapū collectives, alleged that the Crown had predetermined its decision to recognise the mandate secured by the Tūhoronuku IMA. The claimants did not support the Tūhoronuku IMA having a mandate to negotiate on their behalf and argued that the Crown’s recognition of it undermined the rangatiratanga of their hapū.
The claims were heard under urgency in Waitangi in December 2014 and Wellington in March 2015 by a Tribunal panel comprising Judge Sarah Reeves (presiding), Dr Robyn Anderson, Mr Kihi Ngatai, and Lady Tureiti Moxon.
The Tribunal concludes that Crown did not predetermine its decision to recognise the Tūhoronuku IMA’s mandate, having engaged with those opposing the mandate in good faith over a number of years.
The Tribunal goes on to assess the Tūhoronuku IMA as the mandated body recognised by the Crown to represent all Ngāpuhi in settlement negotiations, focussing in particular upon how it purports to represent hapū and its ability to reflect their views and decisions.
The Tribunal concludes that the Crown had an obligation to protect the ability of hapū to exercise their rangatiratanga in deciding how and by whom they would be represented in settlement negotiations. It finds that the Crown failed to do this, recognising the mandate of the Tūhoronuku IMA in the absence of clear evidence of hapū support for its mandate. The Tribunal also finds that the structure and processes of the Tūhoronuku IMA deny hapū any effective means of withdrawing from it or exerting control over how it represents them.
The Tribunal recommends that the Crown delay its negotiations with the Tūhoronuku IMA to give Ngāpuhi the time and space needed to address the flaws the Tribunal has identified. In particular, while the Tribunal does not recommend that the mandating process be re-run, it does recommend that Ngāpuhi hapū be given the opportunity to confirm whether they wish to be represented in settlement negotiations by the Tūhoronuku IMA. While supportive of Ngāpuhi taking a united approach to their settlement negotiations with the Crown, the Tribunal states that this must be a matter of choice for Ngāpuhi hapū.
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