Ngātiwai Marae in Ngaiotonga hosted the Ngātiwai Trust Board’s information Wānanga on Thursday 25th February through to Saturday, 27th February. The purpose of the Wānanga was to have whānau involved in a hui that allowed them to listen and participate in kōrero around matters relating to the Treaty Settlement process, including other board matters and activities. The hui began with a pōwhiri to welcome the Trust Board and other whānau onto the Marae by the Ngātiwai Marae Taumata and hau kāinga. Kaumātua Tokowhati Martin said, “I passed the whare over to the Trust Board by way of handing over the whare rākau kōrero to them for the duration of the Wānanga”. The hui began with Ngātiwai Trust Board Chairman, Haydn Edmonds, presenting the Board’s vision and strategy which was explained around the pou of; Tāngata – Live well, Whenua – Feed our peopleand Moana – Protect our future. Haydn said, “It is important for our people to hear our vision and strategy, and for me to hear from the people to ensure the direction I am leading the board in is the right one for our people”. The Board’s Treaty Negotiations strategy was discussed with Haydn asking what Ngātiwai want for a Treaty Settlement, as well as what is important for our Iwi, Hapū and Marae katoa? He also asked what our people’s bottom lines were in terms of; Cultural redress, commercial redress, protocols and other redress issues. Excellent kōrero was had where whānau were able to participate and provide feedback in a constructive forum. Trustees were invited to introduce themselves and give an overview of the mahi within their respective Trust Board portfolios. This was a great opportunity for whānau to engage Trustees and ask questions of their relevant work areas
Haydn introduced the Technical Advisory Group established to support the Trust Board through the Terms of Negotiations phase. This team consists of Justine Inns from OceanLaw NZ, Toko Kapea of Tuia Group and Blanche McMath of Platform Advertising. They were originally detailed in the Ngātiwai Mandate and since the recognition of this, they have been involved in providing specialist advice based on their specific skill sets around Treaty Settlement matters. In the absence of Rōpū Kaumātua Chairman, Hori Parata, Carmen Hetaraka was invited to present the basis of Te Whakaputanga/Sovereignty. Carmen delivered an excellent kōrero on an ancestral leadership model implemented in the time of Te Houpeke Piripi ma referred to as “Aho Ariki”, which provided a contrasting perspective to other kōrero being had at the hui around the likes of a “Post Settlement Governance Entity”. Carmen said, “This ancestral leadership model clearly gives kīngitanga and mana, which is sovereign power and authority, directly back to the Ariki who are those that have whakapapa connections within the Ngātiwai rohe”. Workshop sessions on five different topics were held; Treaty Claims and where we are today, Post Settlement Governance Entity options, The Board’s Communication Strategy, the Trust Deed review and Financial Literacy for Marae. Sarah Burkhardt facilitated a workshop on the progress of the Trust Deed review and which the Trust Deed Focus Group has been working on over the past twelve months. This focus group has conducted a thorough review of the Trust Deed studying every clause carefully. From this review, a number of clauses were indentified which require further clarification such as; definition of “Whāngai”, what is a Marae? the role of kaumātua/kuia, Marae elections and other clauses that they have been working through with the support of legal advice. Their mahi to date was presented at the Wānanga with some excellent kōrero and feedback received. Sarah said, “Presenting the Trust Deed review workshop really helped open up some things to think about. The issues we identified from our review meant it was critical to get feedback from whānau, and the workshop was a great forum to help with that. I felt we really caught their thinking and made them consider these issues. The issue around Whāngai was the most difficult korero had, as many have different views on this, and it is going to be really hard to get clear clarification on this issue”. Kaumātua Miriam Going said of the workshops “For me they were excellent. It is all about awareness, and I feel I am more aware of where the Trust Board is leading the iwi into the future. The workshops really improved my knowledge and gave me an understanding of the current and relevant matters for us as an iwi. It was an open forum where we felt free, we felt comfortable and we felt included. Initially I was not going to go, but I am glad I did and I enjoyed the whole hui”. On the first evening of the Wānanga, Joeann Waata and Merepeka Henley facilitated a workshop to present a program they are currently developing called Te Kupenga Reo O Ngātiwai. The aim is to regenerate Te Reo me ngā Tikanga O Ngātiwai with the focus on the Taumata and Kaikaranga within our 14 Marae. Their workshop had all participants fully engaged and partaking in mihi mihi, waiata and with some even having a kani kani on their way up to present their work. It was a great evening, with many talking about it into the next day. At the conclusion of the workshop sessions, whānau came together with a Hākari which was a great time to reflect and kōrero on the two days of hui they had just participated in. Haydn said “I would like to make special mention of Wendy Wynyard and her fantastic team of ringa wera and divers who ensured all our whānau were well fed and looked after, especially with the care of our kaumātua. The new facilities at Ngaiotonga are simply superb, and I thank the hau kāinga for their support of the Trust Board during this Wānanga”. Kaumātua Bella Thompson said of the two days she attended, “It has been one of the best things that Ngātiwai Trust Board has ever done. I found the workshops very good, maybe we could of had a bit more time, but it was a very good way for people to come together to listen and express their views. The “Post Settlement Governance Entity” workshop was very good as this will be one of the main issues for us, and it gave us an opportunity to see options we have never seen. I really enjoyed the whole Wānanga with a highlight being the Te Kupenga Reo O Ngātiwai”. Tokowhati Martin said, “As a kaumātua I would like to congratulate the Trust Board Chairman, Haydn Edmonds, the Trustees and kai mahi for delivering a very informative Wānanga, for following tikanga and for giving our uri an opportunity to participate and have their say”. Haydn Edmonds said “I am very pleased with the turn out and the outcomes of this Wānanga. This was the first of more hui that we intend to hold throughout our rohe this year. We will be announcing the next Wānanga very soon, and I look forward to engaging with mo re of our whānau who could not attend this first hui of the year”.