On 2nd May 2016 the Waitangi Tribunal released its decision to grant an urgent hearing into some claims challenging the Crown’s decision to recognise the Ngātiwai Trust Board’s Deed of Mandate. The mandate was obtained following a two and a half year consultation and voting process in which the Board asked all members of Ngātiwai for their consent to settle the remaining historical claims on behalf of all of Ngātiwai. The Crown, having satisfied itself that the process the Board had followed to gain a mandate was robust, officially recognised the mandate on 21st October 2015.
The Tribunal’s decision to grant an urgent hearing was limited to what Judge Savage described as the “central theme”, with urgency applications on other matters being declined, and was also subject to certain conditions. The central theme appears to relate to the matter of whether or not Hapū included in the mandate had given the Board their consent to be included. The conditions relate to the strict observance of all timetables for filing documents. While the matter of Hapū consent appears to be the key issue for future Tribunal hearings, it is not entirely clear which Hapū are included or exactly which claims were declined urgency and, as such, a number of submissions have been made seeking clarification on this point.
Ngātiwai Trust Board Chairman, Haydn Edmonds, says “We believe the Deed of Mandate absolutely provides for Hapū and Kaumātua and Marae representatives to be involved in this settlement process and we were sad to see that the Tribunal did not appreciate our efforts to describe our unique history as distinct to that of Ngapuhi or that our development as people over time has fundamentally been built around the institution of Whanau and Hapū who affiliate to our fourteen (14) Marae.”
“Now that the hearings have been granted, we expect that the presiding Judge will confirm the scope of the matters to be heard, establish a hearings panel and a timetable for the hearings to be held.”
“We understand and recognise that there are still some members and Hapū who have concerns about what the mandate means for them. We have been working through this issue since it was first raised during submissions and will continue to hold Hui to enable Whanau every opportunity to engage with us and understand their place in this settlement process.”
The full Waitangi Tribunal decision is available for you to read on our website, www.ngatiwai.iwi.nz, and can be found on the “Resources” page of our website under the section “Terms of Negotiation”.
As we progress through the hearings process the Board will ensure that we continue to communicate openly with and update our members on this important matter.