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Waitangi Tribunal Releases Report on Ngātiwai Mandate Claims

Waitangi Tribunal Releases Report on Ngātiwai Mandate Claims

The Crown breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi when it recognised the mandate of the Ngātiwai Trust Board to enter into settlement negotiations with the Crown on behalf of Ngātiwai, the Waitangi Tribunal has found.

The claims were made primarily by hapū and whānau groups who alleged the Crown had recognised a mandate that hapū had not consented to and that this undermined their rangatiratanga.

In its Ngātiwai Mandate Inquiry Report released today (31 October 2017), the Tribunal found there were no mechanisms for hapū to either consent to or withdraw from the mandate, and that the Ngātiwai Trust Board was not appropriately structured to represent the hapū named in the mandate. The Tribunal concludes that when the mandate was recognised in October 2015, the process of determining who should be included was unsatisfactory and incomplete.

The Tribunal identifies the lack of clear and robust Crown policy for dealing with the range of interests that need to be accounted for in Treaty settlement mandates as a problem. Crown policy has had the effect of dividing the claims of some hapū claimants among several mandated bodies, without ensuring that hapū can exercise their rangatiratanga.

To address the issues that are identified, the Tribunal recommends a pause in the negotiations process to enable mediation or facilitated discussions to seek agreed and acceptable solutions.

If agreement can be reached on a way forward, then the Crown’s support will be needed for any changes proposed so that the Deed of Mandate can be amended and re-submitted to the parties, including the hapū listed in the deed, for approval.

The Tribunal heard the claims under urgency in late 2016, in Whangārei and Wellington. The panel hearing the claims comprised Judge Sarah Reeves (presiding), Dr Hauata Palmer, Dr Angela Ballara, and Professor Rawinia Higgins.

Ngatiwai_Report.pdf

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