Waitangi Tribunal Hearings – Update from Chairman, Haydn Edmonds

Recently the Treaty Claims Committee and I invited all claimants involved in the upcoming Waitangi Tribunal hearing opposing the Crown’s recognition of Ngātiwai Trust Board’s Treaty Settlement Mandate to a hui to see if we could find a way forward, and ultimately unite in order to prosecute the Crown. 

While all those contacted initially said they were keen on the idea, only Carmen Hetaraka and Elvis Reti (by phone from Australia) attended, with the suggestions being that the others declined to attend  based on legal advice, given the upcoming hearing.

Discussions at this Hui were very positive and constructive, and I think they provide a good example of progress we could make if we were talking to each other kanohi ke te kanohi instead of through lawyers, the Crown and the Tribunal.

Among the topics discussed:

  • The need to advance discussions about the shape of a Ngātiwai Post Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE) ahead of a settlement, and how that entity can reflect and give our Mana Māori Motuhake.
  • The need for well resourced, rock solid research to underpin our negotiations and to educate our people, including looking at who is Ngātiwai, who lost what, and who took it and therefore who has the right to be talking.
  • The idea of establishing a Ngātiwai tribal taumata to maintain oversight over Board decisions was discussed and the progress of negotiations.

Our hui concluded with a commitment, based on the goodwill displayed, to workshop the PSGE at the next hui-a-iwi at Ngunguru and at future hui.

While the Board will continue to defend the Mandate, we are very open to working with all our claimants to develop a solid research basis for our claims, involving our people with their local issues and input before negotiations begin.  We will also support the idea of a Ngātiwai taumata, which we will work to establish before negotiations begin.

We are committed to holding more hui like the one recently held, and following through on those discussions.

Last month a Pou whenua was laid by our hapū at Mimiwhangata.  This Pou is called Manaia and he once again stands on the homeland of Ngātiwai. 

It was Manaia who set the boundaries of the Ngātiwai rohe with five Tohora being set in place.  It is the Moana that gives us mana, as well as the off shore islands which belong to us all.  The resources in our rohe belong to all of us, and have done so for generations.  I do not believe that these claims are about Ngātiwai versus Ngātiwai.  My fight is, and has always been, with the Crown.

Kia kaha Ngātiwai!  There is safety in numbers and the future is bright if we stand as one.  The Board is only a vehicle that can carry us all into negotiations with the Crown, and the outcome of those negotiations must benefit us all in the 21st century.  It will not be the Ngātiwai Trust Board who handles and manages the putea and resources we get back from the Crown as part of any settlement.  That will be the new PSGE, and what that looks like is up to you to decide.

To the claimants, kia kaha.  We will continue with an open door policy inviting continued kōrero and positive hui with you all.

We have already come home to Mimiwhangata with the planting of the Pou Manaia.  Together, let’s start from here to reclaim all that is ours.

I, therefore invite you and your whanau to attend the upcoming Waitangi Tribunal Hearing into the Crown’s recognition of the Ngātiwai Trust Board’s Treaty Settlement Mandate that is being held at Toll Stadium – 51 Okara Drive, Whangarei, from Tuesday, 4th October and concluding on Thursday, 6th October.

If you have any enquiries about this hearing or need assistance with travel arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact the Trust Board office on (09) 430 0939.

​Nau mai piki mai e nga iwi e!
Naku, noa na

Haydn Edmonds

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